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Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced in November its four new initiatives, meant to broaden access to learning about cloud computing. The company says the new initiatives will show workers new career possibilities with the help of the cloud.

The initiatives include the launch of AWS Skill Builder, what Amazon calls a "new digital learning experience," along with the addition of AWS courses to the company's main website, expansion of AWS' re/Start global reskilling program for unemployed and underemployed workers, and the opening of the AWS Skills Center in Seattle. According to Amazon, the new Skills Center is its first dedicated, in-person cloud learning space.

"Our goal is to empower anyone with a desire to learn by giving them access to the tools necessary to excel in cloud computing careers," said Maureen Lonergan, vice president of training and certification at AWS, in a press release statement. "Over the next decade, we expect the adoption of cloud computing across every industry will fuel a vast number of new jobs, which is why we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop online courses, local in-person reskilling programs, and new ways to make it easy for anyone to learn cloud skills."

This news follows Amazon's announcement in December 2020 that the company would provide free cloud computing skills training to more than 29 million people by 2025, aiming to reach "people from all walks of life and all levels of knowledge, in more than 200 countries and territories." The company reported it has reached more than 6 million people with these efforts so far.

According to Amazon, data from the AWS Global Digital Skills Study, which surveyed employers and workers about their perceptions of digital skills training across 12 countries, highlights a greater need for digital skills training than ever before. The study, run by AWS, found that 85% of workers feel that they now need more technical knowledge to do their jobs as a result of pandemic-related changes to work.

Workers who learn new skills are seeing significant benefits, according to the study, with 86% reporting greater efficiency in doing their jobs, 85% experiencing greater personal satisfaction, and 80% reporting improved employability. Employers also see benefits, with 87% reporting investments in digital skills training have allowed their organizations to achieve digital transformation goals more quickly and 84% noting improved worker retention.

"By 2025, 97 million new roles will emerge due to increasing digitization," said Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the World Economic Forum. "Skills are the currency of the future, and businesses and government must urgently work together to prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow."

Amazon said its commitment to training nearly 30 million people on cloud computing skills is one aspect of the company's overall workforce development efforts that also include science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs for children along with collaborations with colleges and universities. Amazon has also pledged to spend $1.2 billion for education assistance and skills training for Amazon employees.