Computer Science

Kentucky Initiative Wants K–12, College Students to Reach for Cloud Careers

In Kentucky, both K–12 and college students will soon have access to blended learning, online learning, internships, apprenticeships, jobs and other opportunities in the cloud computing field. The Kentucky Department of Education and additional state parties, along with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the nonprofit education organization Project Lead the Way (PLTW), have all joined forces in an effort to build a cloud-enabled workforce.

The collaboration has culminated in Kentucky Cloud Career Pathways, or specific courses and educational opportunities that equip students with skillsets like computer science (CS), cybersecurity and cloud computing.

Other parties participating in Pathways include the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Labor Cabinet, Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Community Technical College System (KCTCS). Pathways plans to infuse and expand cloud, cybersecurity and CS curriculum across Kentucky’s K–12 and KCTCS schools, according to a statement from PLTW.

The program will utilize PLTW’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curricula, which are used by more than 9,000 schools nationwide. Meanwhile, Amazon will "develop awareness resources about CS career opportunities and the importance of fortifying digital literacy," a PLTW representative said. AWS Educate job boards, for instance, will serve to map private sector employers (in Kentucky and virtual opportunities) for participants.

“Since launching our AWS Educate program, which helps educators and students to enter the cloud workforce, we’ve seen students around the world jump at the opportunity to get hands-on cloud experience,” commented Teresa Carlson, vice president worldwide public sector for AWS, in the statement.

With more than 1.3 million positions in computer and mathematical occupations expected to be open by 2022, PLTW CEO Vince Bertram asserts that it is a crucial time to provide students with high-quality, interdisciplinary learning opportunities in these subject areas. “Under the tremendous leadership of Governor Matt Bevin, Secretary Hal Heiner and Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, we look forward to this collaboration and the opportunity to engage and empower the next generation of computer scientists, problem solvers, innovators and creators,” Bertram said in the statement.

“The technological transformation occurring globally is changing the way we live and work at an unprecedented pace,” said Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky must be a leader in preparing our students and existing workforce to capitalize on the many job opportunities that innovation in technology is creating.”

In addition, Pathways is providing professional development for K–12 and KCTCS teachers and instructors to support the model.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].