SVCC launches Critical Environment lab

Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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Thanks to a donation from Microsoft, Southside Virginia Community College has a new training lab. SVCC announced this week that the Critical Environmental lab has opened, with the goal of equipping students with essential skills to survive in what’s identified as “critical environments”. In other words, jobs “critical” to communities, like electrical, mechanical, HVAC and other industrial systems. 

It’s part of Microsoft’s Datacenter Academy program. The partnership with the college and the generous donation from Microsoft, is driving this new training initiative. As the first critical environments lab space, it serves as a pilot project that will soon be replicated across other Microsoft locations.

In 2018, the first Microsoft Datacenter Academy program was launched in Virginia, which has now grown into 25 programs spanning the globe. “We are proud to return to Boydton, VA, taking the next step in supporting the workforce with the development of the Datacenter Academy’s Critical Environment lab”, stated Gary McLoughlin, Global Program Manager, Microsoft.

To fully support the lab and to foster a hands-on approach to training, Microsoft donated decommissioned equipment. The Microsoft team worked in tandem with Southside Virginia Community College to ensure curriculum alignment, certifications adoption, all providing graduates with job-ready skills to begin working.

“I am so lucky to be a part of a community college with such a vibrant future,” said Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President. “SVCC’s partnership with Microsoft has impacted the lives of students since the opening of the Datacenter Academy and the impact will continue with the new Critical Environment Lab that will prepare students for new exciting career opportunities,” added Dr. Johnson.

SVCC’s goal is to develop local talent and provide opportunities for individuals seeking employment in industries with critical environment demands. Microsoft’s commitment to a growth mindset and continuous learning aligns seamlessly with this mission.