July 12, 2021
Report Published by AWS Institute

1901 Group Workforce Development:

Bridging the digital divide through upskilling and digital inclusion — how governments can be part of the solution

1901 Group Workforce DevelopmentMillions of people lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Some of this employment may bounce back, but the high rate of business bankruptcies means that many of these jobs are gone for good.

Experts at the McKinsey Global Institute have been tracking this phenomenon and are not optimistic that these jobs will ever return, especially in rural communities. Meanwhile, the fast-growing cloud computing sector is struggling to find skilled workers to fill jobs. 

AWS Institute reached out to experts in industry and government to learn more. This AWS Institute report is an overview of some of the great work that is ongoing by organizations such as AWS re/Start and here at 1901 Group (a Leidos company) and also what more needs to be done. 

Infrastructure is not the only thing that is holding individuals back from full participation in the digital workforce. Digital training opportunities still lag behind demand, especially for learners who come from diverse backgrounds. Attitudes about workforce development remain tied to the belief that a high-tech worker must fit a certain demographic profile, e.g. live in a city and have a four-year college degree.

People living in rural communities are among those seeing their economic prospects receding. Do the rural unemployed have to move to cities to find good jobs? No. As the pandemic has taught us, telework is a sustainable option, especially when high-speed broadband is available to accommodate rural and remote locations.

To help expand career opportunities in rural communities, AWS is collaborating with its partners such as 1901 Group to reach individuals outside of urban centers. 1901 Group has been a leader in rural skill building for employment in cloud technology.

“We look for inquisitive people who are innovators that don’t back down from technology and who want to learn and do. One of the managers at our enterprise IT operations center in Blacksburg, Virginia used to be a professional welder. He started on our help desk and moved his way up an IT career ladder because of his interest in how workflows affected our service delivery, and also because of his really great work ethic.”  – Brendan Walsh, SVP, 1901 Group, a Leidos company

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez notes that globalized markets have changed the nature of work and in-demand skills, creating a need for lifelong learning no matter where you are in your career development. 

State and local governments have an important role to play in the workforce ecosystem. With the meaningful change, we can help strengthen our economy, build a resilient workforce, and help workers get skills for high-paying jobs and, ultimately, thriving careers.

Collaborators in this project including AWS re/Start, the AWS Partner Network, the AWS state, and local government teams, and the Amazon Military Apprenticeships program, as well as external contributors: 1901 Group a Leidos Company, and the World Affairs Councils of America.

Read the full report here


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