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Why is Amazon establishing a cloud skills center on its premises to train employees who will work for other companies?

As if you were walking into a high-tech museum, the new Amazon Web Services Skills Center is a welcome sight. There is also a rotating globe-shaped screen that displays images of planets or weather patterns, an interactive "smart home" model, and a table filled with small robot vehicles that have been trained using machine learning.

Visitor education is a primary goal of the space, which will focus on practical applications of cloud computing, which is becoming increasingly popular as a model for businesses in which technical operations are managed by Amazon or other cloud providers rather than on-premise servers. AWS hopes that by hosting the center, visitors will become more interested in pursuing careers in the industry.

There will be a grand opening on November 22nd at Amazon's corporate headquarters campus in Seattle, Washington. This will be Amazon's first Skills Center, and it will be the first of its kind in the world. This is part of AWS's larger commitment made last year to train 29 million people in cloud computing by 2025, which is expected to benefit the entire world.

It's also one of the first major announcements made by new AWS CEO Adam Selipsky since taking over for Andy Jassy, who was elevated to the position of Amazon CEO following Jeff Bezos' departure from the company in July.

As Selipsky explained in an exclusive interview ahead of the center's opening, the Skills Center will be a "free and open space for anyone interested in learning more about cloud computing, what it is and what the applications are... everything that demonstrates the true breadth of the cloud, and importantly, there will be a lot of skill training here."

His explanation: "There is an acute shortage of digital skills in general, and cloud skills in particular, and this is just one piece of what needs to be done as part of a much larger effort." "We're investing hundreds of millions of dollars to bring this training to tens of millions of people all over the world," says the organization.

Despite the fact that the company declined to disclose the exact amount, it represents a significant investment in free training for individuals who will primarily work for third-party organizations. Although it is critical to AWS's business, it is also critical because of a significant talent shortage that threatens to deter potential customers from adopting cloud technology.

According to Maureen Lonergan, vice president of AWS Training and Certification, "I have that conversation with executives of businesses all of the time." Because of this, we work with our customers to transform their traditional IT staff into individuals who are familiar with the cloud.

As a result of the pandemic, there is a significant increase in demand for cloud computing, which has resulted in a talent shortage. As the unit's new leader, Selipsky will have to deal with stiff competition from rivals such as Microsoft (MSFT) Azure and Google Cloud, both of which are vying for AWS's crown as the world's most popular cloud computing platform.

Despite the fact that Amazon (AMZN) is best known for its e-commerce business, the company's cloud division has long been the company's most profitable division. In the most recent quarter, AWS contributed nearly 56 percent of the company's overall net income, and it now has a revenue run rate of approximately $64 billion.

According to Selipsky, who joined Amazon Web Services in the early days of the division and stayed for 11 years before moving on to lead data visualization firm Tableau for five years, "the cloud is one of the most transformative technological advances of our generation." "To make such a bold statement, consider the last time you rented a DVD or had to pay late fees on something. Netflix, through its streaming service, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services, changed everything... The fact is that more and more applications are not running in data centers that companies build and operate and invest in and worry about; they are instead running on cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS)."

To gain a better understanding of cloud computing and why it is important, Amazon plans to invite anyone from the Seattle community to the Skills Center, including students, unemployed workers, and others seeking a career change. For example, cloud computing enables real-time, mobile gaming over the internet. The center's free technology and cloud basics courses, as well as AWS's other training resources, will be directed to visitors who are interested in career opportunities in the field. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come to the center each year to explore or participate in classes, according to the company's estimates.

As part of the announcement made on Thursday, Amazon.com will also make approximately 60 free digital cloud computing training and certification courses available. As part of this expansion, it will increase access to its Re/Start program, which is a free 12-week training course that prepares individuals for entry-level cloud computing jobs, from 25 cities in 12 countries by the end of 2020 to more than 95 cities in 38 countries by the end of 2021. In the words of Lonergan, the company intends to expand its Skills Center network throughout the world starting next year.

The company also hopes to reach out to people who have historically faced barriers to employment in the technology sector. There is no cost to use the Skills Center or participate in training programs, and they are designed for people who have no prior experience in technology. The company also plans to collaborate with local workforce development organizations in Seattle to recruit employees from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. This effort may help to increase diversity in the cloud computing industry, which, like the rest of the technology world, continues to be dominated by white men and white men in technology jobs. Approximately 69 percent of Amazon's global corporate staff was male and 47 percent was white in 2020, according to the company's most recent workforce data report.

"Our customers are extremely diverse in terms of who they are, their use cases, their industries, and the businesses in which they operate," Selipsky explained. "Our customers are extremely diverse in terms of who they are, their use cases, their industries, and their businesses."

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