By Solomon Klappholz
Amazon has announced its commitment to boost proficiencies in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, with its ‘AI Ready’ initiative.
Targeting unlocking the transformative potential of AI, the project will provide free AI skills training to 2 million people around the world by 2025.
AI Ready will consist of three new initiatives aimed at adults, young learners, and scaling existing Amazon AI training programmes.
The first of these consists of eight new AI and generative AI courses that will be accessible by anyone with a desire to learn more about artificial intelligence for free.
These on-demand courses will range in expertise levels and build on its existing portfolio of over 80 free or low-cost AI resources distributed via Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The second initiative is the AWS Generative AI Scholarship, which will provide over 50,000 high school and university students with access to a new generative AI course through the online education platform Udacity.
The US$12 million scholarship program will target students from underrepresented communities around the world and will introduce them to the fundamental concepts of generative AI as well as providing practical support with hands-on projects.
Upon completion, successful students will receive a certificate from Udacity to demonstrate their proficiencies to future employers.
Amazon has also announced a partnership with education nonprofit Code.org aimed at providing support for students learning about generative AI.
The funding announced in these new initiatives will add to Amazon’s US$1.2 billion investment in education and skills training for cloud computing.
Demand for AI-talent drives Amazon’s training push
Research from AWS has shown AI skills are front of mind for employers looking to harness the productivity gains made possible by artificial intelligence.
According to the report, 92 per cent of organizations plan on implementing AI in their business operations by 2028.
A considerable 92 per cent of respondents believe their IT departments will be the biggest beneficiary of the AI integration.
The benefits AI can provide are not seen to be limited to IT departments either, with 85 per cent of respondents saying they expect sales and marketing to gain “significant value from it” and 78 per cent saying the same for human resources.
AWS’ findings show hiring AI-skilled workers is a priority for 73 per cent of employers – but of these organizations, 75 per cent reported they are unable to meet their AI talent requirements.
This indicates the AI skills gap is inhibiting organizations in leveraging the full potential of AI technologies, and as such demand for employees proficient in these areas is high.
Organizations are willing to pay 47 per cent more for IT workers with AI skills.
AI skills are not just sought after in IT workers, either; similar salary increases for AI competent employees in sales and marketing (43%), finance (42%), business operations (41%), legal, regulatory, and compliance (37%), and human resources (35%).