DMACC and Microsoft Announce New IT Academy to Address The Growing Demand for Iowa Datacenter Technicians

Posted 10/25/2018

​Unique program may encourage more growth in this IT industry.

Microsoft is teaming with Des Moines Area Community College’s (DMACC) West Des Moines Campus to create the Microsoft Datacenter Academy.

The new Academy will educate and train professionals to staff, maintain and service the growing number of computer networks located within the data centers throughout Central Iowa. This is the first-of-its-kind program in the Midwest and only the fourth Microsoft Datacenter Academy in the nation.

“Our goal is to grow the number and quality of workers for these important jobs,” said Paul Englis, Senior Program Manager for Datacenter Community Development. “We have enjoyed our relationship with DMACC’s West Des Moines Campus over the years and, as a result of their location and expertise, we chose the college as our partner in this important workforce development program.”

For the past decade, Microsoft has been a major sponsor of ciWeek or Celebrate! Innovation Week, an annual DMACC West Des Moines Campus event that’s been compared to a cross between TED talks and SXSW in Austin, Texas.

As a first step to create the new Microsoft Data Center Academy, the company is donating to DMACC new specialized equipment from a Microsoft data center. Students will use the equipment to learn and train.

Through this partnership with Microsoft, DMACC West Des Moines Campus will be offering hands-on training with data center and network equipment to help students gain job-ready skills.  Training will include infrastructure cabling, copper and fiber optic testing, and computer network connectivity.  Additional programming will range from eight-weeks to approximately 20 months.  Microsoft is also providing $60,000 in student scholarships for the Datacenter Academy. 

“While we want to hire these Microsoft Datacenter Academy graduates, our goal is to grow the overall pool of skilled IT professionals for the region, which will serve other data centers and businesses with IT needs. Ultimately, this benefits the entire community,” added Englis.

Microsoft currently has two datacenters in West Des Moines and will be breaking ground soon on a third one. DMACC’s West Des Moines Campus is located at the entrance to the Grand Avenue Technology Corridor. Microsoft’s first datacenter, called Project Mountain, is located on the west end. Facebook operates a data center in Altoona and Apple plans to build one near Waukee.

“We’re thrilled that Microsoft chose DMACC’s West Des Moines Campus for the new Microsoft Data Center Academy,” said Dr. Anthony Paustian, Provost of the Campus. “Central Iowa will become an even more attractive location for these data center companies as we grow this skilled workforce.”

According to Jay Nickelson, Network Technology Program Chair for the campus, starting pay for these entry-level jobs will fall within the $30,000 to $40,000 range with advancement common.  Academy graduates will be qualified to enter the workforce or they can pursue their two- or four-year Information Technology degree.

Starting pay is around $30,000 with advancement common. Academy graduates will be qualified to enter the workforce or they can pursue their two or four year Information Technology degree.

Classes start at DMACC’s West Des Moines Campus on January 7, the first day of the spring semester. For more information, please contact Teresa Tripp, DMACC Student Services Specialist, at 515-633-2408 (tmtripp1@dmacc.edu)

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