Students enrolled at one of 19 Los Angeles County community colleges and their partner high schools will have the opportunity to study the growing field of cloud computing through a first-of-its-kind partnership with Amazon Web Services, the two parties announced Thursday.
The partnership will facilitate the creation of a 15-credit cloud computing certificate for students to complete, setting them up for a career path in a field that’s expected to have 2,500 open positions in the next five years in Los Angeles County alone.
CA Cloud, or the California Cloud Workforce Project, which is comprised of the 19 community colleges and their partner high schools, designed the certification in conjunction with AWS, a leading cloud solutions provider, so that students who complete all 15 credits will already have experience with the company’s technology. It’s a level of job preparedness that education officials recognize and celebrate.
“We are proud to pioneer high tech industry-recognized training that creates unprecedented opportunity for underrepresented students at our colleges and their high school partners,” said Francisco C. Rodriguez, chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, in a statement. “This program will prepare LA’s residents for sustainable and high-wage careers in one of the most important fields that is transforming business practices in private and public sectors.”
Students will be able to stack different levels of certification through the program, according to Patricia Ramos, dean of Santa Monica College, which piloted the nine-month program last year. The first level will offer narrow specializations for students interested in the tech industry from a creative, programming, sales or business perspective. An additional “Cloud Practitioners” certification that explains basic AWS concepts will be offered to all students, with a higher-level AWS cloud solutions architect certification available for students interested in pursuing cloud computing as a career.
Ramos said high school and college students enrolled in the program will see the same four courses, with three units each.
“The final projects and problems solved would be at the level appropriate for both without sacrificing skills sets and mindsets for cloud architecture,” Ramos told EdScoop in an email.
The participating colleges will also receive a membership to AWS Educate, the company’s education arm. Students can access training sessions, professional development services, micro-credentialing and a jobs board through the service, according to AWS.
Though just 19 colleges are currently involved, the program could be scaled statewide with the approval of the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office. There are also concurrent efforts to turn the certification into a two-year associates degree, which would match AWS’s recent efforts at Northern Virginia Community College .