Amazon unveils workforce development partnership for Washington high school students

Dec 6, 2021, 3:24 PM
People use a common space outside of The Spheres at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

More than 2,000 high school students in Washington state will soon be able to earn certain computer-tech certifications before they graduate, free of charge, thanks to a partnership with Amazon.

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Amazon Web Services will allow Washington students to use some company training programs to prepare for jobs in cloud computing, education, artificial intelligence, big data and cybersecurity.

Washington Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck says the certifications students will earn from the training programs will help open doors to jobs and post-secondary education.

“Washington state has both a worker shortage and a talent skill gap,” Heck said.

“We’re at least 20,000 short every year,” he added.

Heck says the training will be free and an estimated 2,500 students are expected to have earned professional-level tech credentials by 2024.

“Certification as a pathway to employment or more education is a growing phenomenon in our country, and it is absolutely one that we should embrace,” Heck said.

“People should not have to necessarily have a baccalaureate degree to be a part of the middle class, and skill centers do a lot in that regard,” he continued.

The certifications come out of a new partnership between Amazon and the Secondary Education and Pathway Preparation division of the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Our education system plays the vital role of preparing our young people for success after high school,” said Chris Reykdal, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, in a news release. “Our economy and the needs of employees and employers are evolving, and the K-12 system has to evolve with it. I’m thankful for this collaboration with AWS, which will make a difference for many of our students.”

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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Amazon unveils workforce development partnership for Washington high school students