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DOE, UH partner with Amazon to expand tech education, certification opportunities

Dept. of Education

The state Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi system are partnering with Amazon Web Services to train, upskill and certify students in cloud computing over the next three years.

Cloud computing is becoming increasingly common in the workplace. However, there is a high demand locally and nationally for certified workers.

The DOE and UH cite a report from Emsi, a labor market data company, that says there were over 9,600 Hawaiʻi job postings requiring cloud computing skills between August 2021 and July 2022.

AWS is one of the largest cloud service providers in the world. Organizations such as the NFL, Disney, Samsung, Verizon and The Washington Post use AWS to host services and information.

Locally, the university, the state and other private organizations also use the service.

Through the partnership, local organizations will collaborate with the AWS Academy to provide schools with a no-cost, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum. This aims to prepare students to obtain an industry-recognized certification.

Educators at participating institutions will also have access to instructor training.

"The cloud has become the predominant method to rapidly deploy new information systems and services," said UH President David Lassner. "This project is focused on training for students, learners, residents to learn how to be experts at deploying and using cloud infrastructure."

Lassner tells HPR that the effort is part of an ongoing collaboration between UH and the DOE to integrate high school tech academies with the university and create career pathways for students.

The program will be piloted at ʻAiea and Pearl City high schools. DOE officials say the high school level courses will take a school year, while college-level training courses will take one semester.

For Pearl City senior Kyler Tamura, the partnership is beneficial for students to get a jump start in pursuing a career in tech.

"With Amazon Web Services, you're allowed to get a certification," he said. "If students are able to take that certification test, it will help them in the future when they're applying for certain jobs."

Tamura says he hopes the certification will help him get a job and allow him to stay in Hawaiʻi in the future.

For Pearl City High School principal Joseph Halfmann, the partnership is another example of preparing students with real-world skills for their careers.

"It's much more engaging for students, it's much more focused on what they will be doing post-high school and post-college," he tells HPR. "So it's great that we continue to develop these opportunities."

The initiative aims to certify 150 students by 2025. The agreement has no set end date.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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