NOVA IET launched the DCO PD (Data Center Operations Program Development) grant award with ACTE at their National Postsecondary CTE Summit in Denver on September 21st, with a call to action for college and secondary educators to participate in a DCO Fellowship that will bring them to NOVA for professional learning, then return to their schools and institutions with an action plan to implement and expand DCO in their service area.
Data Center industry experts Anthony Hatzenbuehler, from CoreSite, Vanessa Kennedy, from STACK Infrastructure, and Jeffrey Cassar from Cologix, Inc., added their valuable insights as panelists at the launch presentation led by NOVA SySTEMic Director Josh Labrie.
Labrie opened by noting that “the DCO industry is growing fast and markets continue to strengthen across the U.S. DCO’s goal is to raise awareness for the national need for data center operations education and to increase capacity for DCO education at community colleges and technical colleges around the nation.”
One way this will be accomplished this is by bringing college and secondary educators to Northern Virginia Community College for a Professional Learning Fellowship.
By a wide margin, Northern Virginia is the No. 1 site for data centers in the country and the world. With NOVA’s upcoming Data Center Training Facility underway at the Woodbridge campus, the region is an ideal locus to facilitate training that will act as a catalyst for expansion throughout the country.
After the fellowship, participants will complete an externship at a data center in their region and develop a DCO Education Action Plan that can applied in their professional practice, inspiring and equipping more people to get into Data Center careers, no matter what their background.
Cassar stated during the panel session that “someone with a solid base education and who’s motivated has so much opportunity within data centers. It’s a career, it’s not a stepping stone.”
Hatzenbuehlar added “what I’m looking for is somebody who has the drive, desire, and the aptitude to keep going and furthering their knowledge even beyond the education system to the industry they’re in.”
Kennedy highlighted the importance of fostering industry awareness and talent: “Data center growth in employment is outpacing the economy. There are so many career opportunities. We’ve been really big on pushing internship programs and diversity, trying to get women into the data center and technology sector. We need that talent. STACK has been partnering with NOVA to do these internships with a goal of finding them a place in the industry. We want everyone to be successful.”
Hatzenbuehlar later capped off the panel by stating “that’s what we’re looking for in partnering with NOVA – we’re really in need. there’s a ton of demand for operators and very little supply. We need to partner together to build that supply chain.”
Educators can apply for the DCO Professional Learning Fellowship here.
Read more about DCO PD at www.nvcc.edu/systemic/dco-pd-nsf-grant.html
DCO PD is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).