First Amazon, now Google (again)

By Matthew Dembicki

Tech giants Google and Amazon are beefing up their involvement in helping to train more technology professionals, and community colleges are key partners in their efforts.

Last Thursday, El Centro College in Dallas hosted Google’s announcement that the company will expand a six-month training program it developed for people who don’t have experience or a college degree for entry-level information technology (IT) jobs. El Centro is among 30 community colleges that currently offer the program.

“These schools play a vital role in creating economic opportunities for the people they serve, and we’re excited to be a part of that with the IT Support Professional Certificate program,” Lisa Gevelber, vice president for Grow with Google, wrote of community colleges in a blog post about the expanded effort.

Joining the Pledge

The announcement was part of Google’s commitment to a White House initiative encouraging more private companies to expand job training for American workers. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who was joined at the announcement by White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, said the company’s plan to participate in the Pledge to America’s Workers initiative includes creating 250,000 new training opportunities for American workers over the next five years.

More than 350 companies have committed to train and retrain more than 14 million students and workers since Trump introduced the pledge in July 2018.

“We know that in order to be competitive in this world, we need to invest in America’s greatest asset, our workers, and help fill the openings in the IT field,” Ivanka Trump said in prepared remarks at Thursday’s event, which included state officials, community college leaders, students and others. Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges and a member of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, also attended the event, where he spoke with Pichai about community colleges’ role in the company’s efforts.

Expanding to 100 colleges

Google launched its online IT support certificate program last year to 30 participating community colleges. It now plans to include 100 community colleges by the end of 2020.

Goggle added that it also has created a consortium of employers who are eager to hire these graduates.

The IT field is projected to grow by 10 percent between 2018 and 2028 — faster than the average of all other occupations, according to Google, with jobs carrying a median salary of $53,470. In the U.S., there are more than 215,000 open IT support roles, the company said.

Amazon’s cloud-computing program

The Google news comes on the heels of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) announcement last week that it is creating degree programs in partnership with Texas community colleges aimed at preparing students for careers in cloud computing. The colleges can start offering the two-year degree as early as next spring.

The statewide effort marks one of the nation’s first associate of applied science degrees in cloud computing offered by a community college, according to state officials.

Cloud-related jobs include software engineers, software architects and data engineers with starting salaries above $60,000.

The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) is considering offering cloud computing classes at its Brookhaven, El Centro, North Lake and Richland colleges next year under the new announcement. The district added that the push goes beyond college students, with DCCCD and AWS aiming to include a pathway for K-12 students through dual enrollment to get them interested in possible careers in cloud computing.

This article originally appeared in CC Daily.

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