The Garcia Family Foundation, Arizona Commerce Authority Announce Amazon Web Services Student Certification Scholarship for Arizona Student

$300,000 Endowment for Arizona Students to Take AWS Certification exams


PHOENIX, AZ (March 29, 2021) — Today, the Garcia Family Foundation and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) announced a multi-year, $300,000 educational endowment that will be used to fund an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Student Certification Scholarship Fund for economically disadvantaged students attending Arizona schools. The scholarships, made possible thanks to the generosity of the Garcia Family Foundation, may be used by students to pay for the cost of AWS Cloud Certification exams at local professional testing centers. Successful completion of these industry-recognized AWS Certification exams helps students to qualify for in-demand, high-wage cloud computing jobs in Arizona and across the country.

According to LinkedIn, cloud computing has remained one of the most in-demand hard skills for the past five years, and two AWS Certifications appear on the top 10 highest paying certifications list by Global Knowledge (2020). Data from Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) identified 78,241 unique job postings in Arizona requiring cloud computing skills in 2020, and more than 12% of those jobs specifically requested AWS Cloud skills. Only a select number of Arizonans currently hold an AWS Certification, creating a significant skills gap for local employers interested in hiring technical talent to fill open roles.

In October of 2020, AWS, the ACA, the State Board of Education and Arizona Community College Coordinating Council jointly announced a plan to equip every high school, community college and university in Arizona with access to AWS-designed educational programs, materials, labs and instructional resources to help teach Arizona students about the skills required for in-demand cloud computing careers in their home state. Students who complete these educational programs through AWS Academy are better prepared to take and pass the AWS Certification exams.

“Arizona’s collaboration with AWS and the Garcia Family Foundation is a great example of industry, philanthropy and education working together for the benefit of the students in our state,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the ACA. “Since our announcement in October, nearly all of our community colleges and universities have signed up to participate in the AWS Academy program. We are seeing similar interest across the state from our high school career and technical education districts. By fall of 2021, a large majority of our students will have access to AWS Cloud skills education, and we’re immensely grateful to the Garcia Family Foundation for helping expand these opportunities to even more students.”

Jon Ehlinger, President of the Garcia Family Foundation said, “Equity and income inequality are a critical focus of national and state conversations in the United States today. We want to commend the Arizona Commerce Authority and AWS for providing students in our state education system with access to actionable, concrete, educational opportunities to help close these gaps. Training from AWS and AWS Certifications enable students with access to potential career opportunities in one of the fastest growing and high-wage employment areas of our economy today! The Garcia Family Foundation is pleased to provide this scholarship for economically challenged Arizona students who may not have otherwise taken advantage of it because of the credentialing testing costs.”

Kim Majerus, Leader, US Education, State, and Local Government at AWS, stated, “It’s important for all of Arizona’s students and lifelong learners—regardless of their background, education or social status—to have the opportunity to build technical skills and to qualify for in-demand, high-wage jobs in cloud computing. Education is a catalyst for economic change, and AWS is honored to collaborate with the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Education System and the Garcia Family Foundation to create pathways to cloud careers for individuals of all backgrounds.”

To learn more about AWS Cloud educational offerings at your local Arizona school or institution and how to enroll, please visit:​​​​​​​​​​​



Media Contact

Patrick Ptak, Arizona Commerce Authority, [email protected]


About the Garcia Family Foundation

Founded in 1996 in Phoenix, the Garcia Family Foundation is committed to serving and solving the challenges of those living in poverty in Arizona.  The Foundation currently focuses on homelessness and the prevention of homelessness, and providing educational and workforce development opportunities for high-achieving, disadvantaged students at the high school, technical and university levels, with an additional emphasis on strategic partnerships, collaboration and technology across all program areas.  For more information, contact [email protected]


About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state's leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona's economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create - attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.