By Roger Wehner, AWS Director of Economic Development.
As the Silicon Heartland continues to emerge in Ohio, Amazon Web Services is excited to deliver much more than the data centers it has been building here for more than a decade. Schools, local businesses, state and regional economies, communities and the environment are key beneficiaries of AWS and its expanding investment in the regions where it operates.
AWS, the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud computing platform, has grown since 2011 to offer more than 200 services from data centers around the globe, allowing startups, large established enterprises and leading government agencies to access cost-effective, fast and efficient computing, data storage and database technologies.
Now, a new Economic Impact Study shows AWS has invested more than $108 billion in cloud computing infrastructure across the United States and contributed nearly $38 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product while supporting some 30,000 jobs through its spending for construction, connection, maintenance and operation of data centers.
Ohio is a critical hub for AWS, hosting multiple data centers that have boosted the state’s GDP by more than $2.2 billion from 2015 through 2022. Another $7.8 billion will be invested by 2030 as AWS plans to expand its Ohio data center operations, including $3.5 billion more in New Albany. This will add hundreds of new direct jobs and thousands of indirect positions to the 3,500 full-time equivalent jobs that AWS already supports annually in Ohio.
But these indicators, as immensely impressive as they are, are only part of the story of the positive impact AWS is driving across Ohio and the nation. AWS is dedicated not only to building and staffing data centers today but also to developing the talent it will need for tomorrow’s workforce and supporting the communities in which it operates.
Examples of AWS’ commitment to future generations include its 18 Think Big Space sites in Central Ohio, where 26,000 students from kindergarten through grade 12 get hands-on opportunities in AWS learning labs promoting science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education. And AWS also works to inspire girls and young women to consider technology careers, offering a free half-day event, Girls’ Tech Day, which attracted 400 girls from fifth through eighth grade in participating Columbus schools in 2022.
For older students and young adults, AWS Academy gives Ohio colleges and universities free curricula ready to teach cloud computing to help students achieve industry-recognized certifications and land highly sought jobs. Columbus State Community College, Miami University and the University of Cincinnati are among those offering the AWS curricula.
In addition, Columbus State partnered with AWS to add a new Data Center Technician Training Program that includes a $50,000 AWS-sponsored scholarship fund and opportunities for students to start their careers at local AWS data centers. Another pathway to data center careers with on-the-job-training and internships is AWS’ Grow Our Own Talent program.
The state’s legislative leaders are taking notice. “Events like Girls’ Tech Day are important because they reinforce the message that we want, and need, more women to be part of these fields,” said Ohio State Senator Stephanie Kunze, R-Hilliard. “It’s critical that we keep developing and encouraging their talent, so they can seize the opportunities available to them in tech.”
Just as impressive as our workforce development efforts is AWS’ exemplary environmental stewardship. AWS has committed to be using 100% renewable energy by 2025—five years ahead of our original target of 2030. This will also mean more renewable energy for electricity grids without adding costs to local energy users.
AWS also pledges to be “water positive” by 2030—returning more water to communities than our data centers use, such as by using recycled water for data center cooling.
The AWS advantage is clear: through the direct infrastructure investment and jobs that it provides, the workforce development it promotes and the ripple effect of employment growth not only in its supply chain but also the small and medium-sized local businesses, professional services and restaurants that AWS employees support.
Ohio is better with Amazon Web Services as its partner in building the Silicon Heartland.