- George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) announced in June a cloud computing degree pathway program in conjunction with AWS Educate, Amazon's cloud technology education initiative. Students in the program will take cloud-based courses at NOVA to prepare for coursework for a four-year Bachelor's degree at George Mason.
- The program builds on NOVA's Associate of Applied Science degree in cloud computing, launched with AWS Educate in 2018, the organizations said. Faculty at George Mason and NOVA collaborated with AWS Educate officials to create the program's curriculum, which will seek to train students for careers in cloud architecture, cybersecurity, "DevOps" and software development.
- The program will launch in the fall of 2020 and is part of the ADVANCE program partnership between the two colleges. In-demand skills and credentials based on competency will be backwards-mapped to verify credentials, the organizations said. Students will also receive membership in the AWS Educate program.
Cloud computing is one of the most in-demand skills in 2019, according to a recent report by LinkedIn Learning, due to the fact that more companies are hoping to expand their use of cloud architecture. But as with other roles in the information technology space, even employers in large U.S. cities have had difficulty meeting demand for cloud computing professionals.
The fact that Amazon is partnering with NOVA and George Mason on the pathway program may also be interesting for observers given the company's recent expansion into the Northern Virginia area, which will soon host the company's second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. One of the main draws for Amazon to the region was its access to local universities, CIO Dive reported. On the day Amazon made its HQ2 announcement, George Mason announced an expansion to one of its campuses to develop its computing programs and research.
The AWS Educate collaboration is just one example of the many cities, businesses, government organizations, NGOs and other partners that have collaborated with universities and colleges to upskill workers and students in the past few years. Employers facing a thin talent market may need to evaluate whether unexplored partnership opportunities exist that could help them build out understaffed teams, or operate in areas of business need.