Customer Stories / Education
TCSG Works with AWS Academy to Offer Digital Cloud Computing Credential to 22 Colleges
The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) worked with AWS Education Programs to launch its virtual Cloud Academy, making cloud learning accessible regardless of location or IT setup.
To promote the learning of in-demand skills and help students land jobs in a competitive workforce, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) created the TCSG Cloud Academy, which helps address the state’s growing need for workers with cloud computing expertise. As the global cloud computing market continues to grow rapidly, Atlanta has become one of the most tech-forward cities in the United States, with over 125,000 cloud computing jobs available.
TCSG built the TCSG Cloud Academy so that it could deliver virtual courses to potentially thousands of students from all 22 colleges. It engaged Amazon Web Services (AWS) to include valuable cloud learning content that would help students gain cloud computing expertise. In its first year, close to 200 students took cloud courses, and more than half of them earned a cloud-specific credential.
Opportunity | Building Cloud Expertise for a Competitive Workforce
TCSG is the state of Georgia government agency that supervises workforce development of hundreds of thousands of students across 22 technical colleges, 88 campuses, and more than 600 programs. The agency aims to run a system of technical education using the latest technology that’s accessible to all adults and corporate citizens in the state. To develop and deploy its new cloud-focused curriculum, it worked with AWS Education Programs, which helps TCSG institutions develop initiatives that align education to careers in the cloud and promote student employability, preparing diverse learners for in-demand cloud roles around the world. In 2020, the organization officially launched the TCSG Cloud Academy—a virtual program for students pursuing expertise and certifications in cloud computing—on its eCampus virtual learning system.
TCSG built its Cloud Academy using AWS Academy, which provides higher education institutions with a free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum that prepares students to pursue industry-recognized certifications and in-demand cloud jobs. TCSG launched the TCSG Cloud Academy in two forms: one as a specialization within an existing associate’s degree and the second as a stand-alone technical certificate of credit. For the technical certificate of credit, students who have existing degrees can enter the curriculum to focus on cloud computing and participate in hands-on cloud experiences using AWS services.
To connect those hands-on cloud experiences and the rest of the Cloud Academy curriculum to real-world jobs, TCSG collaborated with the AWS team in December 2021 to host a Career Day event that was attended by several major cloud computing employers. Students of the TCSG Cloud Academy could meet with prospective employers and gain practical insights into the in-demand cloud computing skills that these organizations want and that they would learn.
AWS Academy’s ready-to-teach curriculum makes it easy for institutions to adopt and start teaching cloud computing right away. The time to market is the main advantage for us.”
Chief Information Officer, TCSG
Solution | Delivering Cloud Education in Diverse Forms
One of the most important benefits of using AWS Academy is its ready-to-teach curriculum, which simplifies training educators, making it easy to scale the degree program. In fact, TCSG used this feature to scale its program across its colleges. In 1 year, TCSG grew its Cloud Academy from 7 students across 3 colleges to almost 200 students across 10 colleges. And because all the necessary course materials were included in AWS Academy, just 12 AWS educators were able to teach all 200 students. “AWS Academy’s ready-to-teach curriculum makes it easy for institutions to adopt and start teaching cloud computing right away,” says Steven Ferguson, chief information officer at TCSG. “The time to market is the main advantage for us.”
In addition, TCSG’s Cloud Academy included AWS Academy Learner Labs—long-running hands-on lab environments where educators can bring their own assignments and invite their students to get experience using select AWS services. These labs cater to beginners as well as more experienced learners, and they make it simple for educators to assign projects, view students’ work spaces, and monitor course analytics in the cloud. With its new online program, TCSG can equip its students with in-demand skills for future careers in the cloud, such as cloud support associate, network technician, web development engineer, and cloud support engineer, among others. It has also improved the accessibility of its courses and cloud expertise in general by removing barriers like location, IT setup, and hardware access. TCSG is helping students enter a competitive workforce as educated cloud professionals and providing opportunities for success.
Meanwhile, the Career Day event that TCSG hosted provided valuable experience to students in the Cloud Academy. “Events like Career Day help employers connect with students for internships, apprenticeships, or even direct hire before they graduate,” says Ferguson. “The education-to-workforce pipeline that we have built is invaluable.”
Outcome | Expanding Cloud Learning to Even More Students
TCSG, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education, plans to expand the TCSG Cloud Academy to 5,500 learners across Georgia by 2024. The agency also wants to include high schools that don’t already offer AWS courses to further promote cloud learning among the state’s future workforce.
Using the AWS curriculum and technology as the foundation for its courses, TCSG is preparing students to earn industry-recognized AWS Certifications to increase employability while improving accessibility to cloud education by offering the academy virtually and remotely.
About Technical College System of Georgia
The Technical College System of Georgia is the state government agency that supervises workforce development of more than 294,000 students across 22 technical colleges, 88 campuses, and more than 600 programs.
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