Building Careers in the Cloud

19 Feb 2021

Two new CLP briefs offer insights on key elements of success and lessons learned in the development of a regional cloud computing pathway in the greater Los Angeles area.

“I have never seen any other program at my college have such a dramatic, life-altering effect on students’ lives,” noted Howard Stahl, computer science and information systems department chair at Santa Monica College, “This program helps students build careers in tech. Coupled with industry certifications, students are getting employed in great jobs with fantastic companies all over the tech field.”

The first brief, Building Careers in the Cloud: An Effective and Connected Community of Practice, highlights the essential role played by the faculty community of practice in the success of the initiative. The locally-grown partnership relied on its active community of practice, which brought consistency and structure to implementation, encouraged innovation and problem solving, and fostered a spirit of genuine collegiality among faculty across institutions. The second brief, Building Careers in the Cloud: An Industry-engaged Pathway, explores how the partners worked with employers across the region to prepare students for careers in cloud computing, providing work-based learning opportunities and developing creative solutions to overcome barriers such as the cost of industry certification exams.

Modeled after a pilot at Santa Monica College, the Cloud Computing Certificate is now offered at all participating colleges and approved by the state as a regional certificate program with credit portable across 19 colleges in the region. With funding from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Strong Workforce Program, Santa Monica College built a regional sector-based partnership, the California Cloud Workforce Project, to steer the effort. This partnership, anchored by the 19 LA area colleges and their partner high schools, includes Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS Educate along with multiple technology employers, the LA County Office of Education, the Center for a Competitive Workforce, the LA Economic Development Corporation, and Career Ladders Project.

Download the briefs:


CLP’s support for the California Cloud Workforce Project and the development of these publications was funded by Santa Monica College using a grant from the Los Angeles Orange County Regional Consortium through CCCCO Strong Workforce Program funds.