The Skills Center is “going to be a free, accessible space for anybody who wants to learn more about cloud computing, what it is, what the applications are … everything that illustrates the true breadth of the cloud, and importantly, there’s going to be a lot of skills training here,” Selipsky told CNN Business in an exclusive interview ahead of the center’s opening.
“There’s a dramatic need for digital skills overall, and for cloud skills in particular, and this is part of a very broad effort,” he said. “We’re going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to bring that training to tens of millions of people worldwide.”
“I have that conversation with executives of companies all the time,” said Maureen Lonergan, vice president of AWS Training and Certification. “So we work not only on training new people to cloud but working with customers to transform their traditional IT staff to cloud-fluent individuals.”
“The cloud is actually one of the most transformative technological changes of our generation,” said Selipsky, who started at AWS in the division’s early days and spent 11 years with the company before leaving to run data visualization firm Tableau for five years. “I know that sounds like a big statement but if you think about, when is the last time you went to rent a DVD or incurred late fees? Netflix changed all of that by streaming and that happens on AWS … No matter what sector you look at, no matter what application you look at, it’s now more and more not running in data centers that companies build and operate and put capital into and stress out about, it operates through a place like AWS.”
At the Skills Center, Amazon plans to invite anyone from the Seattle community — students, unemployed workers or others looking for a career change — to get a better sense of what cloud computing is and why it matters; for example, it makes real-time, mobile gaming over the internet possible. From there, visitors interested in career opportunities in the field will have access to free tech and cloud basics courses at the center, and may be directed to AWS’s other training resources. The company hopes tens of thousands of people will visit the center to explore or take classes each year.
As part of Thursday’s announcement, the company also said it will add around 60 free, digital cloud computing training and certification courses to Amazon.com. It is also expanding access to its Re/Start program, a free 12-week training course that prepares people for an entry level job in cloud computing, from 25 cities in 12 countries in 2020 to more than 95 cities in 38 countries by the end of 2021. The company expects to open more Skills Centers around the world starting next year, according to Lonergan.
“Our customers are so incredibly diverse and who they are, and their use cases and their industries, and the companies in which they operate are so diverse, it’s hard to imagine that we could really deliver what they need from us if we are not equally diverse,” Selipsky said.