EMCC and GCC Collaborate with Microsoft on IT Certification Programs - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday March 24th, 2023

EMCC and GCC Collaborate with Microsoft on IT Certification Programs

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  • Dasi Danzig   |   Maricopa Community Colleges


Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) and Glendale Community College (GCC) are proud to announce a collaboration with Microsoft to develop and deploy a Microsoft Datacenter Academy to enhance the IT training programs at both schools and provide real-world applications for students in their attainment of current and new IT certifications and degrees.

The Microsoft Datacenter Academy will begin welcoming students in the Fall of 2021. The Academy will be located in EMCC’s Estrella Hall and will serve students from EMCC as well as GCC. The Academy will prepare workers for high-demand jobs in the IT sector and work to strengthen the number and quality of workers for these important jobs, including work in Microsoft datacenters. Additionally, these programs will help Arizona residents up-skill for new jobs.

“We are always looking for ways to better prepare our students for in-demand IT jobs,” said Dr. Rey Rivera, EMCC President. “This collaboration with Microsoft will not only help to fill a void in the IT job market but will also provide our students with additional streamlined pathways to these high-paying jobs, many of which will be located right here in the West Valley where three Microsoft datacenters will open in the near future.”

The datacenters — two in Goodyear and one in El Mirage — are under construction with plans to go online in 2021.

As a first step to creating the new Microsoft Datacenter Academy, the company will donate specialized equipment directly from Microsoft datacenters to EMCC. The typical Datacenter Academy lab contains three rack cabinets with a mix of servers, storage devices, and networking equipment. Students will be able to use this equipment to receive hands-on experience with industry-standard hyper cloud hardware.

“Estrella Mountain Community College and Glendale Community College are striving to educate, train, and prepare our students for the fast-paced changes happening in the workplace,” said Dr. Teresa Leyba Ruiz, GCC President. “That is why we are so proud to team up with Microsoft in establishing the Datacenter Academy at our colleges. We are excited that Microsoft is firmly committed to the West Valley by building datacenters in Goodyear and El Mirage and supporting EMCC and GCC as we prepare students for careers in the growing IT industry.” 

The collaboration is part of the Microsoft Datacenter Academy program, a workforce development program sponsored by the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development team. The program helps build digital skills and provides career pathways in the growing information technology sector for residents of communities in which Microsoft operates datacenters. The partnership provides support in multiple ways to schools and colleges that deliver IT training and certification programs, including guidance on curriculum; donations of servers, laptops, and datacenter equipment for labs; funding of scholarships for underrepresented groups in the IT sector, including women, African American/Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous students; and opportunities for mentorship and work experience in Microsoft datacenters.

“Microsoft is grateful to work with nonprofits, governments, educators, and businesses around the world to ensure students acquire skills and certifications for employment in the growing cloud computing and IT sectors,” said Utaukwa Allen, Director of Microsoft Datacenter Community Development. “This partnership with Estrella Mountain Community College and Glendale Community College will go a long way in helping us provide these opportunities in Maricopa County.”