Despite today’s announcement by Amazon that it will no longer open one of its New York City HQ2 locations, Amazon’s plans to invest in New York — area engineering training programs and other local educational initiatives will not be cancelled. The retailer decided to end their plans for the New York headquarters after significant backlash from local politicians and citizens alike who, as Amazon put it, “have made it clear they are opposed to our presence.”
Amazon’s deal with New York politicians had included up to $ 1.5 billion in government grants and tax breaks in exchange for bringing 25,000 new jobs to the NYC area.
But Amazon jobs weren’t all the business was investing in — the firm also recently said it would fund educational programs and training for high schools and colleges in the New York area.
In particular, Amazon said it would fund computer science classes at over 130 high schools in New York City, including both introductory and Advanced Placement (AP) classes. The classes would be offered across all five NYC boroughs, including more than 30 Queens schools — the new headquarters ‘ planned location.
These classes were to be funded by the Future Engineer program of Amazon, which works to bring computer science courses to over 100,000 disadvantaged children in 2,000 low – income high schools in the U.S.
Furthermore, Amazon said it was working with local colleges and universities, including LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), New York City University (CUNY) and New York State University (SUNY) to create a New York student cloud computing certificate program.
Amazon’s AWS Educate program supported this program.
More than 1,500 institutions are currently using the Educate program to train students in cloud computing by offering them hands – on AWS technology experience. Once completed, the students can apply for jobs at Amazon and elsewhere.
Amazon has not officially commented on how the HQ2 news will affect these programs in New York, but sources familiar with the situation told TechCrunch that both educational programs are continuing — regardless of what happened to HQ2.
While obviously intended to help build a NYC HQ2 pipeline, the larger goals of the programs are to create new engineering talent that knows how to work with Amazon’s cloud computing platform, AWS.
Although these students will not now have a direct exit to a New York HQ2 area, Amazon still has more than 5,000 employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, the company said in its HQ2 announcement today — and it plans to grow those teams in the years to come.
That means it can’t hurt to keep building the New York talent pipeline. After all, Amazon could still graduate from other East Coast locations, including Northern Virginia and Nashville, as well as from its other 17 U.S. and Canadian offices and hubs.