This AWS Cloud certification program opens up new avenues for captives | All Tech Sir


Julian Blair knew nothing about cloud computing when he was incarcerated in a Washington DC jail greater than two years in the past.

“I had by no means performed something with a pc aside from play video video games, write papers in school and obtain music on an iPad,” Blair mentioned.

Now, after three months of working with an academic program underneath the management APDS and Amazon Internet Companies (AWS) contained in the jail, Blair and 10 different residents of the ability have efficiently handed the AWS Licensed Cloud Practitioner examination.

“I’ve realized extra about computer systems than I ever did in school,” Blair mentioned.

Photo of an inmate in a Washington, DC prison, sitting at a desk with a notebook on it.

Juilian Blair attended cloud certification coaching led by Amazon Internet Companies (AWS) workers.

The Cloud Certification program is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the DC Division of Corrections (DC DOC), AWS, and APDS, an ed-tech firm specializing in serving to incarcerated people put together for post-salary residing. The purpose of the pilot program is to assist people achieve publicity to cloud computing and potential careers in cloud expertise.

AWS providers unlock cloud computing capabilities behind bars

About 2 million individuals are in jail in the US, in accordance with info from Jail Coverage Initiative. One other 4.5 million Individuals are on probation and parole, and one in three adults has had some type of involvement with the jail system. Folks with a historical past of incarceration have a more durable time re-entering the workforce as soon as launched, which might result in recidivism.

“You must give folks the talents they want to have the ability to discover jobs so they do not find yourself again within the system,” mentioned Arti Finn, co-founder and head of technique at APDS. “Essentially, we, as a rustic, should not doing something to deal with whoever is behind bars.

APDS is working to vary this by providing technology-driven applications to residents in 120 correctional services in 17 states. These providers are provided by means of customizable digital tablets that incarcerated people can use to entry all the things from TED Talks to monetary literacy programs.

The tablets additionally present program members with free entry to cloud abilities coaching and cloud certification examination preparation supplies AWS Talent Builder. This system is an element of a bigger dedication that Amazon has dedicated to investing a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars} free cloud computing abilities coaching to 29 million folks in 2025.

Image of AWS Skill Builder on a tablet.

Cloud certification applications for these now not incarcerated can be found exterior of prisons, however applications that prepare and certify college students whereas they’re nonetheless behind bars are uncommon.

“Working with pre-release residents is essential to their post-release success,” mentioned Amy Lopez, who was DC DOC’s deputy director and now consults on profession readiness {and professional} growth for correctional services. “Ninety-five p.c of all folks on this nation who’re in jail go residence.” Who do we would like coming again to our group – somebody who can navigate efficiently and add positively to our communities or somebody who’s going to repeat themselves in three to 5 years? Properly, we would like the previous.”

Smooth abilities complement the technical parts for college kids

As a part of this system, AWS trainers take a hands-on method with college students, and worker volunteers from throughout Amazon incorporate hands-on work into the expertise. Amazon staff conduct on-line digital interviews with the scholars, utilizing APDS-issued tablets.

“There’s a variety of worth that AWS brings past the curriculum,” Finn mentioned. “[Students] study that it isn’t simply credentials that AWS is in search of, however motivation and the power to assume exterior of your self.

Yari Rodriguez is an HR enterprise affiliate at an Amazon success heart in Connecticut, the place interviewing candidates is a part of her job. She volunteered to conduct digital interviews with two college students in this system. Members appreciated her response, she mentioned. They had been keen to speak about their careers earlier than incarceration — and about their motivations for fulfillment exterior of jail.

“One gentleman I interviewed was a firefighter,” Rodriguez mentioned. “His tales had been superb. He taught me a lot about his world and what he used to do.”

With an unemployment fee of greater than 27% for previously incarcerated people nationwide, efforts to offer abilities coaching and job readiness are key to reversing the reentry course of, Rodriguez mentioned.

For Blair, this system opened up the potential for a completely new path after incarceration. Earlier than jail, he had earned a level in sports activities administration from Howard College. He ran monitor at school and pursued a profession as an expert soccer participant.

When his launch date comes, he’ll be engaged on a profession in expertise.

“I really feel like that area is getting wider and wider on daily basis,” Blair mentioned. “I am enthusiastic about it and seeing how far it could possibly take me.”

Be taught extra about Amazon dedication to assist 29 million folks world wide are growing their cloud computing abilities free of charge by 2025.



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