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A tech pipeline for rural communities: West Virginia joins AWS Tech Alliance

by Tekla Moquin | on 10 JAN 2024 | AWS Public Sector Blog

Last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched the AWS Skills to Jobs Tech Alliance to improve the employment gap by increasing tech skills globally. The initiative brings together a coalition of Fortune 500 companies and other employers, government agencies, workforce development organizations, and education leaders to better prepare learners for entry-level tech careers. Working backwards from employer demand for specific skills and roles, the Tech Alliance provides pathways for early career talent to jobs in cloud support, software development, and data integration. Currently, the initiative is in six countries: the US (Illinois, New York, and Washington), Egypt, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Singapore.


We are excited to announce West Virginia as the fourth state in the US to join the Tech Alliance, and the first to focus specifically on developing a tech pipeline to rural communities. West Virginia’s state government and universities are working collaboratively to grow nationally-recognized training in 21st century tech careers, particularly cybersecurity. Recent announcements include the establishment of a National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence for Critical Infrastructure at Marshall University, a cybersecurity education and training facility at West Virginia University (in collaboration with AWS), and a Cybersecurity Innovation Center at West Virginia State University. The Tech Alliance will work with a wide range of organizations in the public and private sector to create – and keep – good paying and high growth jobs in West Virginia. The West Virginia Tech Alliance will directly connect more than 750 learners to cloud employers throughout the 2024-2025 academic year.


“The new AWS Skills to Jobs Tech Alliance in West Virginia continues our global mission of working across government, education, and nonprofits to support organizations and their enduring need for highly qualified talent that is critical to future growth,” said Valerie Singer, general manager of AWS Worldwide Public Sector Global Education.


Wednesday’s announcement includes a group of stakeholders who are committed to helping train and hire West Virginia’s next generation of tech leaders. Participants include:


IBM, Trilogy Innovations, West Virginia Bankers Association, NextGen Federal Systems, Vertx Partners, State of West Virginia, Marshall University, Marshall Health Network, West Virginia University, WVU Medicine West Virginia University Health System, West Virginia State University, Community and Technical College System of West Virginia, and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  


The West Virginia Tech Alliance launches with support from the West Virginia Governor’s Office, the West Virginia Department of Commerce, Senate President Craig Blair, Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw and a delegation of state legislators.


“West Virginia’s partnership with the AWS Skills to Jobs Tech Alliance represents a strategic investment in our future. In doing so, we are bringing together government, education, and industry to create a powerful ecosystem that fosters innovation and equips our citizens with the tools and knowledge necessary to thrive in the digital age,” said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. “By securing our economic future and ensuring West Virginia remains a vibrant and dynamic hub for generations to come, we are upholding the legacy of our people’s strength and determination and carving a bright path forward in the digital age.”


Tech Alliance continues its global focus in 2024


The Tech Alliance was formed in response to a demonstrated need for help filling the skills gap and recruiting essential, in-demand tech jobs: from software developers and cloud engineers to data analysts and IT generalists. Employers worldwide seek a better and more consistent pipeline of in-house talent in order to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


Each Tech Alliance works with specific regional partners to prepare learners, increase employability, and modernize tech programs in areas which are poised to grow and become centers of a 21st century tech economy.


Each Tech Alliance continues to improve tech talent readiness within its respective geography. In Egypt, AWS signed a new nationwide agreement with the Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research (MoHESR) in June 2023, alongside 100 ministers, higher education, and government affiliates. Today, the Egypt Tech Alliance convenes more than 30 higher education universities under MoHESR and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) through its workforce development affiliates: the National Telecommunications Institute (NTI) and the Information Technology Institute (ITI). More than 20 AWS Partners and customers have committed to the Egypt alliance.


In Spain, AWS has committed and delivered on three regional government agreements (Andalucía, Aragon, and Valencia) to deliver AWS training and curriculum across vocational training colleges, universities, and business schools. More than 30,000 students are training through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program. Tech Alliances in Germany, Italy, and Singapore launched at AWS re:Invent in November 2023, and will focus on building pathways to cloud engineering and development jobs for more than 3,500 learners in 2024.


The three existing Tech Alliance states in the US have also grown their footprints. Seventeen programs across nine higher education institutions have completed program alignment workshops, collectively impacting more than 140,000 students. Thirty-nine employers have engaged directly with students across 15 career-readiness and work-based learning events in partnership with collaborating organizations. Learners engaged in the West Virginia Tech Alliance should expect similar opportunities to engage with AWS employer customers in 2024.


To learn more or get involved, please visit the Tech Alliance homepage.


Original release written by Tekla Moquin (Skills to Job Lead) on behalf of the AWS Public Sector Blog:

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