AWC to offer Amazon Web Services certifications [1]

Staff members receive training to teach cloud computing courses

Yuma, AZ (November 20, 2020) – As more organizations shift to utilizing online cloud technologies, employees with the necessary cloud computing skills to manage those services are in high demand. It’s for this reason that Arizona Western College will begin offering Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications beginning Spring 2021.

This new opportunity is part of a statewide commitment by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) to increase access to cloud computing education in public schools and higher education institutions across Arizona. The initiative aims to train and certify 5,000 students for entry-level cloud computing careers by June 2022. Through the AWS Academy, schools will be provided with a free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum that prepares students for industry-recognized AWS certifications.

Arizona Western College students will be able to earn two different certifications through this effort: (1) AWS Academy Cloud Foundations and (2) AWS Cloud Architecting. These certifications will be offered through the AWC Downtown Center Continuing Education department. Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma (STEDY) is partnering with AWC in this effort to offer these certifications to high school students as well.

“These are stackable mini-certificates. With only two credits of work it gets our high school students into cloud foundation courses, and with an additional three credits they get into cloud architecture, which is just a rare opportunity,” said Reetika Dhawan, Associate Vice President for Workforce Development and Career and Technical Education at AWC.

“These certifications will help prepare our students for jobs that are in high demand. There are currently more than 1.5 million job openings across the country in cloud foundation-related fields.”

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). Data from Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI [3]) 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. A select number of Arizonans currently hold an AWS Certification, creating a significant skills gap for local employers interested in hiring technical talent to fill open roles.

Three AWC faculty members are in the process of being trained by AWS to teach the certification courses. These educators include: Ihab Saleh, Technology Service Desk Director; Salil Dhawan, Professor of Computer Information Systems; and Peter Burgess, Professor of Computer Information Systems. Ihab Saleh and Salil Dhawan will be teaching courses in Yuma County and Peter Burgess will be teaching courses in La Paz County.

More information about ACA and their statewide initiative can be found here [4].

Reetika Dhawan
Associate Vice President of Workforce Development and Career & Technical Education
Arizona Western College [5]
(928) 344-7769

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