A head in the clouds can lead to employment

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

As the need for specific IT skills grows, a consortia of community colleges is working to close the skills gap.

Cloud computing jobs utilizing Amazon Web Services (AWS) have increased by 177 percent since 2014. It’s predicted that, in Los Angeles County, there will be about 2,500 annual job openings for each of the next 5 years across all information technology occupations. Los Angeles community colleges produce 680 IT certificates, so a skills gap still exists.

A partnership is working to change that. AWS is collaborating with the California Cloud Workforce Consortia, a group of 19 Los Angeles community colleges, to offer a regionally-recognized cloud computing certificate. This is the first time in the nation a group of community colleges have come together to offer a cloud computing certificate at a regional level in collaboration with AWS, according to a press release.

As part of this initiative, each community college is partnering with at least one high school in the greater Los Angeles area, including those in economically-disadvantaged communities. They’ll offer concurrent enrollment that allows students to access a 15-credit certificate program that focuses on in-demand cloud computing skills. Students in the program will get other opportunities, too, such as professional development opportunities like curriculum development workshops and AWS trainings.

The model curriculum was initially developed by faculty at Santa Monica College (SMC) and AWS Educate. SMC partnered with Roosevelt High School to offer dual enrollment opportunities during the 2017-18 school year to give high school students opportunities early in their academic careers to learn about cloud. Student demand was tremendous and SMC hired additional faculty and expanded the program.

Simon Anderson, CEO of Reliam, which manages applications and data running on AWS and consults in the sector, was a strong supporter of the pilot program at Santa Monica College. “It’s great that this program is expanding, because AWS is the most important technology for transformation of businesses and acceleration of innovation in the world today,” Anderson said in a press release.

The CA Cloud colleges are currently working to get state approval from the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, so that the program can be scaled statewide to help more California residents access high-demand job opportunities in cloud computing.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.