Northam announces statewide cloud computing degree program

An associate's degree in cloud computing, first offered at Northern Virginia Community College, will be expanded to community college students around the state.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the move Friday at the Regional Center for Workforce Development Education and Training on NVCC's Woodbridge campus.

This collaboration will create opportunities and build pathways to high-skilled and high-wage cloud computing careers for students in all regions of the state, Northam said.

“The field of cloud computing is growing and dynamic, and we know that for our commonwealth to reach new heights and remain a national leader in tech talent, we must build seamless pathways from classrooms to careers at all education levels,” he said. “This initiative represents exactly the kind of cooperation we need to ensure that Virginians have access to the skills they need for 21st-century jobs, while also helping employers find Virginia workers with the right training to fill those jobs.”

NOVA community college officials worked with  Amazon Web Services Educate to develop the associate's degree program.  

The expanded program will replicate that success at other community colleges and four-year institutions, and high school students in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties and Alexandria will have the opportunity to receive college credit in cloud computing courses through dual enrollment and early college models.

“The growing demand for these skills is clear,” said Megan Healy, the state's chief workforce development advisor. “Since September 2016, job postings requiring these skills in Virginia have increased from approximately 5,000 per month to 20,000 per month.”

Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary company of Amazon, provides customizable tech services through the internet, such as computing, database storage and applications, to 1 million customers, including Capital One, General Electric, Airbnb, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The region's need for workers skilled in computing exploded with the announcement that Amazon would bring a second headquarters and at least 25,000 jobs to a site in Arlington.

But the need for these skills extend well beyond Amazon as a company, or even what we consider the technology industry, said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System.

"Practically every field is growing more reliant on this technology and need people who can make it work,” he said. “This collaboration means our students will be at the forefront of a degree program that will help prepare them for high-demand 21st-century jobs.”

The following institutions will participate in this initiative and have committed to implement the cloud computing degree program in Virginia. 

K-12

  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Loudon County Public Schools
  • Alexandria City Public Schools
  • Arlington Public Schools

Community Colleges

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
  • John Tyler Community College
  • Thomas Nelson Community College
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Patrick Henry Community College
  • Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
  • Tidewater Community College
  • New River Community College
  • Lord Fairfax Community College

Universities

  • George Mason University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Hampton University
  • Virginia State University

For more information, please visit the AWS Educate and the Virginia Community College System websites.

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