Pima Community College Part of Effort to Train 5,000 in Cloud Computing Education

Pima Community College is part of a statewide consortium that will work to increase access to cloud computing education to thousands of students in schools across Arizona. 

The endeavor was announced by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) with the support of Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), the worldwide leader in cloud technologies.

This initiative aims to train and certify 5,000 students for entry-level cloud computing careers by June 2022, with continued long-term investments in technical skills training for Arizonans.  

The new curriculum will begin at Pima in the summer of 2021; details are not yet finalized regarding cost and enrollment details. PCC will integrate the new curriculum into its existing Information Technology degree and certificate programs, and also will offer non-credit stackable credentials to assist workers displaced by COVID-19 to upskill and retrain for new jobs. 

Cloud computing, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and data analytics are key technologies driving the way Americans work and learn. The global public cloud computing market has grown 15 percent year over year and similar growth is projected for the next decade. 

“By partnering with Amazon Web Services, the statewide implementation of the AWS Academy among Arizona’s community colleges will better position our state and our students for cloud computing and AI jobs, now and well into the future,” says Lee Lambert, PCC Chancellor. 

According to LinkedIn, cloud computing has remained one of the most in-demand hard skills for the past five years, and two AWS Certifications appear on the top 10 highest-paying certifications list by Global Knowledge (2019), Including the AWS SysOps Administrator with averages $130,610.. 

Data from Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) identified 95,116 unique job postings in Arizona requiring cloud computing skills in 2019, and more than 12 percent of those jobs specifically requested AWS skills. The number of Arizonans currently holding an AWS Certification cannot meet industry demand, creating a significant skills gap for local employers seeking to hire talent to fill open roles. 

The AWS cloud computing curriculum provides students the opportunity to work on real-world data, projects, and infrastructure, giving them experience in the increasingly digital workplace.  Students will have the opportunity to explore fields such as gaming and programming cloud-based voice service devices such as Alexa.

“AWS is working with us to train our faculty in AWS technologies and further align our programs to industry, while increasing access to this technology for our students through industry-recognized credentials,” PCC Vice President of Workforce Development & Strategic Partnerships Ian Roark adds. “We are excited about partnering with the Governor, the ACA, AWS, and our CTEDs (Career and Technical Education Districts) to take our IT education infrastructure to the next level in Arizona.”

The AWS curriculum will be fully integrated with the Community College Growth Engine Fund, and the Reskilling and Recovery Network, two important initiatives that PCC is participating in. All three initiatives are designed to reskill and upskill displaced workers as well as traditional community college students.  Extensive advising and support will be a key component of all three.

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