Students participate in externship program

Published 12:39 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Hassan Davis and Christian Jackson, graduates from Southside Virginia Community College’s (SVCC) data center academy, just accepted externship offers at Microsoft’s data center in Boydton. The SVCC students completed the IT program at the Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) located in South Hill. For Davis and Jackson this externship allows them to hone their newly acquired computer networking skills. Microsoft’s involvement and dedication to the externship program adds another layer of success for these students.

The Microsoft externship program is an immersive experience that allows the student to receive 10 weeks of hands-on training in a data center. Two scholars are selected each semester.

Hassan, an adult learner, embarked on the IT Networking program at SVCC after he lost his job. After meeting with Kelly Arnold, SVCC’s apprenticeship coordinator, Hassan applied for a new scholarship that Microsoft recently provided to SVCC for underrepresented population groups. This scholarship was a chance to add the missing piece to his resume — college credit and industry recognized credentials. While Hassan had industry experience in IT, acquiring a job was proving difficult.

“The Microsoft scholarship and now the externship has opened doors that I never thought possible. I love this new chapter of my story,” states Davis.

For Jackson, SVCC was a logical choice for college. She was already earning college credit through her dual-enrollment classes in high school. She, like other 18-year-olds, was unsure of her career pathway. Christian was always interested in computer technology but was apprehensive about entering a non-traditional career field for females. After she was awarded the Microsoft scholarship, she felt excited and believed that she could succeed.

“The classes were challenging but the teachers, students, and even Microsoft employees kept encouraging me along the way,” said Christian. This April she began an externship at Microsoft, and in May she received her associate degree in Information Technology and a Career Studies Certificate in IT Networking.

Earlier this year, Governor Ralph Northam tasked the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to develop road-maps for employment for all college students. When you combine this challenge from the governor with industries that offer these opportunities, students create a resume that allows them to secure jobs in a high-demand, well-paying job market.

“We take student success seriously at SVCC,” remarks Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Studies, “and Christian and Hassan are perfect examples of how our IT program is growing rapidly, and Microsoft has been instrumental in all the success.”

For more about the program contact SVCC at (434) 955-2252 or drop by the CITE training lab in South Hill at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center. The fall semester will begin in August and registration is ongoing currently.