Donation supports IT Academy

Published 2:51 pm Friday, September 6, 2019

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Microsoft Corp. continued its investment in the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) with a $200,000 donation to support an expansion of the SVHEC’s IT Academy. The donation, along with support from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, will allow SVHEC to expand the IT Academy’s training spaces and program offerings.

Anthony Putorek, from Microsoft’s Global Workforce Development team says, “We have seen an increased interest in IT training since the Academy’s inception. The quality of graduates is a testament to the dedication of SVHEC and its instructors. Microsoft is proud to support SVHEC as it expands its facilities to meet the growing demand for IT training and certification.”

“This is another example of how Microsoft is investing in the IT Academy and our community,” said SVHEC Executive Director Dr. Betty Adams.

“Their interest in building southern Virginia’s pipeline of skilled IT workers, who are in demand across all industries, exemplifies what it means to be a community partner,” she continued.

The IT Academy’s expansion will include the renovation of adjacent unfinished space to add a new repair center, instructional space and offices for new instructors. The additional physical space and instructional staff will allow SVHEC to serve more trainees and increase the available credential-based programming. Microsoft’s donation will fund the costs of renovations and equipment purchases.

“Microsoft’s ongoing support of the IT Academy is much appreciated,” said SVHEC’s Chief Workforce Development Officer Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens. “Anthony Putorek continues to be a true champion of our IT Academy model and the impact of the work-ready citizens we help to prepare for employment at Microsoft and many other workplaces,” she continued.

According to Simon-Owens, the SVHEC will be posting job announcements for two IT Academy trainers soon and plans to begin new course offerings as early as fall 2019.

Currently, the IT Academy offers a four-month foundational training leading to CompTIA A+ and Server+ certification. Advanced training in networking and cybersecurity are also available. New programming, leading to CompTIA certification, will include IT Fundamentals+, IT Linux+, PenTest+ and Cloud+.

Since opening in August 2015, the IT Academy has trained 225 individuals in 14 cohorts, with 85 percent of program completers securing employment within 12 months of finishing the program. Cohort 9 began on Aug. 12 with 24 enrolled trainees.