RICHMOND, Va.Power Distribution Inc. (PDI and the Potomac AFCOM Chapter announced that students from North Virginia Community College (NOVA) will be awarded a $6,000 scholarship.  The scholarship award will be divided equally between three carefully selected students who are enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester of NOVA’s two-year Data Center Operations program.

The scholarship was created to ease the financial burden and help stimulate interest within data center management as the industry faces a skills gap. The severity of this gap is noted in a survey of AFCOM members who found that, across the industry, only 21% of workers are below age 45, while 73% are between the ages of 46 and 61.

“Northern Virginia is the largest market for data center space in the U.S., home to 4.6 million square feet of commissioned data center space, representing 616 MW of commissioned power, according to market research from datacenterHawk,” said Chad Knights, provost of information and engineering technologies, NOVA. “At Northern Virginia Community College, we have led the way in helping the data center industry fill their talent pipeline with a trained workforce through the establishment of the Data Center Operations (DCO) specialization of the Engineering Technology A.A.S. degree.”  

“As a small organization in the midst of one of the largest and fastest-growing data center markets in the country, the Potomac AFCOM chapter has taken steps to drive new talent into this market through internships and scholarships,” said Dave Mulholland, PDI’s vice president of global services and president of the Potomac AFCOM Chapter. “We are really excited to be working directly with the students in the DCO path at NOVA.”  

“The cost to complete the full DCO program is $12,000, and we are grateful to the Potomac Chapter of AFCOM for providing needed scholarships that allow our students to complete the DCO program and enter the rapidly growing field of data center operations immediately upon graduation,” said Kelly Persons, executive director, NOVA Educational Foundation.

In its continued efforts to nurture future data center specialists, PDI and Potomac AFCOM Chapter also sponsored three summer internships for the second year this year.

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