Irvine, Calif. — April 5, 2022 — CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County (CLAOC) announced an initiative with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to introduce cloud computing education modules and other curriculum at the high school, community college, and university levels in Orange County, with the intended outcome of training and certifying 4,000 students over the next five years.
Working with CLAOC’s education partners, this initiative aims to provide community college students with technical training and education mapped to in-demand skills and hopes to pave the way for careers in tech, explained Jasmine Pachnanda, CLAOC’s Senior Vice President leading the artificial intelligence (AI) Initiative.
“This collaboration can enable more Orange County residents to access high demand, well-paid job opportunities in our innovation economy,” said Pachnanda. “We are thrilled to help facilitate a true public-private collaboration with Orange County business and education leaders to create brighter futures, particularly in communities where access to tech-related jobs is limited.”
A 2021 study by McKinsey conducted for CLAOC highlights that just 23% of the OC tech and tech-adjacent workforce in Orange County are female and just 19% are Hispanic or African American. The new initiative seeks to address the demand for skilled technical talent, as well as increase representation of women, Hispanics, and African Americans employed in the technology sector.
Following the national trend, Orange County companies typically require at least a bachelor’s degree and/or more than four years’ experience for most tech roles, which limits opportunities for 61% of the OC population who do not have a bachelor’s degree.
According to another recent study by CapGemini, 90% of US companies are aware of the digital skills gap, but only 4% have aligned their training programs with their digital agenda. With AWS cloud computing skills among the top-ten most in-demand capabilities by Orange County employers, the new initiative aims to strike at the heart of the training gap, Pachnanda said.
CLAOC and AWS intend to work initially to convene industry and education leaders this spring to develop a cloud computing talent development framework, which will consist of knowledge, skills, and ability alignment, and determining certifications, entry level and advanced degrees that will support expected talent demand. CLAOC and AWS also plan to extend this effort with hands-on training that local companies can provide through 6-week career exploration experiences this summer.
“We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with CLAOC to help prepare learners in Orange County for cloud computing careers,” said Josh Weatherly, Director, US Education, State and Local Government Verticals at AWS. “Collaboration between industry and education is critical to addressing the technical skills gap, and the executives at CLAOC are at the forefront of connecting Orange County residents to tech careers.”
CLAOC is a not-for-profit membership organization of CEOs from some of the region’s most prominent public and private companies who are committed to leading change. CLAOC’s mission is to collaborate to cultivate Orange County into a premier, inclusive, innovation talent hub.
The group’s organizational priorities include creating an AI Talent Development Center of Excellence to bring together civic and business leaders, AI-focused entrepreneurs, and education organizations to cultivate and recruit the diverse talent needed now and in the future to support a robust AI-driven economy in OC. The AI Talent Development Center of Excellence will be the premier source of talent cultivation, providing OC residents the opportunity to build and flourish in AI-infused careers. Through this strategy, the group hopes to create a well-defined talent pipeline and promote a thriving local economy and environment for the region.