Two office workers typing on laptops, top close up view

“Word” might be the comment from tech-hungry students upon news that Microsoft—with three West Valley data centers under construction—is partnering with local community colleges.

Estrella Mountain Community College and Glendale Community College are collaborating with Bill Gates’ legendary company to develop Microsoft Datacenter Academy, to launch in the fall of 2021.

“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 data centers—two in Goodyear and one in El Mirage—are under construction, with plans to go online in 2021.

The Microsoft Datacenter Academy will be located in EMCC’s Estrella Hall on the Avondale campus. It will serve students from EMCC as well as GCC. The Academy will prepare workers for high-demand jobs in the IT sector.

Microsoft 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. 

“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.”