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datacenterpicToday, the full panel of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification & Community Revitalization Commission (TICR) approved the SVHEC’s grant application to establish the IT Academy at its South Boston facility.

The IT Academy (ITA) is a short-term, non-credit training program to prepare individuals with the skills and certifications required for employment in Southern Virginia’s growing Information Technology sector. ITA will provide a core curriculum leading to CompTIA certification in A+, Network+ and Server+. Each of these courses will last 3-5 weeks and provide approximately 100 hours of instruction. Students will be able to complete the entire core curriculum within 90 days.

ITA will also offer intermediate & advanced level training based on industry needs and employer demands.

Dr. Betty Adams, executive director of the SVHEC stated “We are seeing what I call a market correction in education with an increasing emphasis on students earning third-party credentials. The hands-on, intensive nature of the program allows students to quickly learn the skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Initiatives like the IT Academy are critical to closing the skills gap, and preparing the region with skilled workers needed for jobs available right here, right now,” she said.

ITA differs from other programs because of its focus on applied learning and practice. Classroom instruction is paired with hands-on exercises that take place in a lab that replicates an actual data center environment. Students are given intensive training so they can quickly earn their certifications and enter the workforce. SVHEC is working closely with regional IT firms Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative, ATOS/Microsoft, and HP to plan and implement the IT Academy.

David Willette, SVHEC Board of Trustees Member and Deputy Data Center Manager for HP Enterprise Services, said, “As a global citizen and local partner HP is keen to support initiatives that help build a solid local technical workforce. Programs like the SVHEC IT Academy benefit HP directly by supplying more prepared local talent – but more importantly, these programs tend to drive further growth in the local technology industry resulting in a stronger and more sustainable economy. This benefits every one of us!”
Todd Slattery, ATOS North America Operations Manager for Data Center Services stated, “This program will allow us to develop the skill sets required to support our customer, and give the folks in the program a chance to grow with this fast paced and rewarding environment.”

SVHEC plans to enroll the first cohort of students in the spring 2015 semester. Tuition costs and registration details are still being finalized.

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center is an independent state agency advancing the region’s economic potential through education, innovation, and collaboration. For more information about the SVHEC visit www.svhec.org, email information@svhec.org, or call 434-572-5440 and toll free 1-800-283-0098.