Amazon has unveiled its “AI Ready” initiative, a commitment to offer free AI skills training to 2 million individuals globally by 2025.
The announcement, made on Monday, November 20, by Swami Sivasubramanian, vice-president of data and AI at Amazon Web Services (AWS), comes on the heels of a new study conducted by his firm that underscores the high demand for AI talent in the job market.
The study reveals that AI is poised to be the most transformative technology of our time, with its potential to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Currently, 73 per cent of employers prioritise the hiring of AI-skilled talent, while three out of four employers expressed a struggle to find the necessary AI talent.
Employers are optimistic about the potential of upskilling in AI, with expectations that workers could earn up to 47 per cent more in salaries. Furthermore, 93 per cent of businesses foresee integrating AI solutions into their operations within the next five years.
To harness this potential, Amazon recognises the need to make AI education accessible to all, irrespective of background or age. The “AI Ready” commitment involves the launch of three new initiatives aimed at both adults and young learners, along with the expansion of existing free AI training programmes. The three key initiatives are eight new and free AI courses, the AWS Generative AI scholarship and the collaboration with code.org.
As its first key initiative, Amazon is introducing eight new and free AI and generative AI courses, ranging from beginners to advanced learners enhancing the existing pool of 80+ free and low-cost AI courses and resources provided through AWS.
As its second key initiative, 50,000 high school and university students worldwide will gain access to a new generative AI course on Udacity through the AWS Generative AI Scholarship. This initiative, valued at over US$12 million, targets students from underserved and underrepresented communities.
Amazon, as its third key initiative, is collaborating with the non-profit, computer science, education website Code.org to assist students in learning about generative AI and make AI education accessible and engaging for students.
Amazon’s commitment extends beyond professionals to encompass students and learners from diverse backgrounds. The company is investing in cloud skills training alongside the “AI Ready” initiative, with a separate commitment to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people by 2025.
As part of the broader initiative, Amazon is also launching the “Hour of Code Dance Party: AI Edition”, in collaboration with Amazon Future Engineer and Code.org. This engaging coding and AI introduction will take place globally during Computer Science Education Week, December 4–10, offering students and teachers a fun and accessible entry point into the world of generative AI.