Amazon offers to train Utah teachers, for free, in how to prepare students for cloud-based jobs

(Rick Bowmer | AP file photo) Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, seen here on July 30, 2020, in the Utah State Capitol, announced on August 6, 2020, that the state is working with Amazon Web Services, to train teachers to prepare students for cloud-based tech jobs. The plan is to provide resources for some 5,000 students by June 2022.

Amazon is partnering with Utah to train the state’s educators to teach a curriculum developed by the tech giant to prepare students for jobs in the cloud.

The effort aims to provide cloud-computing courses and related resources to some 5,000 Utah students by June 2022, Gov. Gary Herbert said in a media teleconference Thursday from the Utah Capitol.

The state’s Talent Ready Utah training program will coordinate the effort with Amazon Web Services’ AWS Academy, which works with colleges and universities to help students learn skills and earn credentials offered by the company.

Educators at Utah’s participating institutions will be trained in the curriculum at no cost. To become certified, educators must then pass an exam, and they will be provided a limited number of tests at no cost.

They also will receive discounts for additional tests. The usual test fees for AWS certification run from $100 to $150, AWS said in a statement later Thursday.

Once teachers are trained, students can enroll in their classes to learn the Academy curriculum. The tuition for the course is determined and charged by the school offering the course, AWS said. The costs for Utah’s future Academy students were not immediately available from state officials.

Students who then take the certification tests for Amazon credentials will get discounts of 50% on the exam fees, AWS said.

Dixie State University in St. George has been teaching the AWS curriculum for two years, said Joe Francom, professor of computer science at DSU. “We knew we had to jump on that train, and help our children be successful and join the work force,” Francom said.

Students at Dixie State receive credit for taking the AWS training as a college course, a DSU spokeswoman said. It also is offered as a continuing-education course, though not for college credit. Tuition varies, depending on whether it is a regular college course or continuing-education class.

Individual schools determine whether the courses are offered as a certificate or as part of a degree program, AWS said.

Herbert said Utah will be the first state to provide the AWS Academy program statewide through its schools, and is the first state AWS is partnering with in this way. AWS also will offer learning resources to high schools, through its AWS Educate program.

John Stephenson, director of U.S. public policy for AWS, said the AWS Academy curriculum, for teachers and students, can be made available at all levels of higher education — career and technical high schools, technical colleges, community colleges or universities.

Herbert said that Utah has “the most advanced skilled labor force not only in the country but in the world,” and the AWS training “will enhance what we’re already doing.”