Governor Ralph Northam chose Woodbridge, VA to announce a new collaboration between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and select K-12 school divisions, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), and leading four-year universities. Addressing an audience of educators, business leaders and government officials at the Regional Center for Workforce & Training Center, Northam noted that this collaboration will create opportunities and build pathways to skilled, high-wage cloud computing careers for students in Prince William County and across the Commonwealth.

As part of the collaboration, participating schools will use AWS Educate, an initiative which allows schools to incorporate cloud skills into high school STEM curriculum as well as associate and bachelor degree programs. This collaboration will also help Virginia employers who have a growing need for workers with cloud computing skills.

“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.”

“The growing demand for these skills is clear,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Since September 2016, job postings requiring these skills in Virginia have increased from approximately 5,000 per month to 20,000 per month.”

Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University are two of the first higher education institutions in the country to offer cloud computing degrees. Their programs will now be replicated at other community colleges and four-year institutions, and high school students will have the opportunity to receive college credit in cloud computing courses through dual enrollment and early college models.

“In Woodbridge, a current economic development focus is cultivating our growing Cybersecurity Corridor,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, who has overseen $1.7B in infrastructure development since taking office in 2008. “We have long had a talented workforce, many with military backgrounds and security clearances, and an ideal location for supporting operations at Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir and FBI facilities in Prince William. We are also three VRE stops from the new Amazon HQ2. Now, with this new initiative, we will be giving more students access to valuable skills, and providing businesses with an even larger talent pool.”

The need for these skills extend well beyond Amazon as a company. “Practically every field is growing more reliant on this technology and need people who can make it work,” said VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois. “This collaboration means our students will be at the forefront of a degree program that will help prepare them for high-demand 21st-century 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, Inc.

The following institutions will participate in this initiative and have committed to implement the cloud computing degree program in Virginia.

K-12

  • 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

Universities

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

For more information, please visit the AWS Educate and the Virginia Community College System websites.

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