AWS Public Sector Blog

AWS Educate collaborates with Virginia on statewide cloud degree offering to help fill workforce demand

Speakers at 20 Sept. 2019 event (left to right): Tim Sands, President, Virginia Tech; Mel Schiavelli, Interim President, Northern Virginia Community College; Megan Healy, VA Chief Workforce Advisor; Teresa Carlson, VP Worldwide Public Sector, AWS; Ralph Northam, Governor, VA; Joann Haysbert, Chancellor and Provost, Hampton University; Glenn Dubois, Chancellor, VCCS; Atif Qarni, VA Secretary of Education; Marty Smith, COO, Fairfax County Schools; Dolica Gopisetty, Student, George Mason University and Intern, Gannett. Speaker not pictured: Anne Holton, Interim President George Mason University.

Leaders from across the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Governor Ralph Northam, announced a new cloud degree collaboration between AWS Educate and select K12 school divisions, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), and leading four-year universities on Friday, September 20, 2019.

Participating academic institutions will leverage AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning by building associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs, as well as high school STEM curriculum. The Cloud Degree Program will create pathways towards in-demand, tech-related careers in cloud computing. The collaboration will also work with employers throughout Virginia who have a growing need for tech workers with cloud computing skills. These new efforts expand the cloud computing degree programs launched with AWS Educate at Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University.

“The field of cloud computing is growing and dynamic, and we know that for our Commonwealth to reach new heights and remain a national leader in tech talent, we must build seamless pathways from classrooms to careers at all education levels,” said Governor Northam. “This initiative represents exactly the kind of cooperation we need to ensure that Virginians have access to the skills they need for 21st-century jobs, while also helping employers find Virginia workers with the right training to fill those jobs.”

“By embedding the AWS Educate program to create a statewide cloud degree program, Virginia is providing students with an on-ramp to innovation and careers in the cloud,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services. “We applaud Governor Northam and Virginia’s educational leaders for providing this workforce development opportunity for students in all corners of the Commonwealth, from K12 to community colleges to four-year institutions and on into the workforce.”

“We have this big opportunity in the cloud together, which I think is phenomenal. I think will look back on this time and think this was an inflection point for higher education and for education in general. And I’m really excited to be part of it,” said Tim Sands, President, Virginia Tech.

Educational institutions and statewide consortia are increasingly developing creative solutions to respond to workforce needs requiring trained professionals in cloud computing. For instance, AWS Educate recently announced similar collaborations with the San Francisco Bay Area Consortium and Louisiana.

The following educational institutions are part of this initiative:


  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Loudoun County Public Schools
  • Alexandria City Public Schools
  • Arlington Public Schools

Community Colleges

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
  • John Tyler Community College
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Patrick Henry Community College
  • Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
  • Tidewater Community College
  • New River Community College
  • Lord Fairfax Community College


  • George Mason University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Hampton University
  • Virginia State University