The US Department of Labor (DOL) has given community colleges in Virginia $5 million in funding to help with the data center skills gap.

Northern Virginia Community College
– Northern Virginia Community College

The money will specifically go toward data center construction careers, helping the colleges create training programs and work-based learning opportunities in the state.

“Our colleges are poised to deliver the kind of 21st-century education Virginians need to secure gainful employment in today’s high-demand industries," said Dr. David Doré, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). “And with the state focused on growing its economy and our emphasis on helping to fill the workforce gap, this funding will go a long way.”

The funding has been awarded as part of the DOL's Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs grant program. Seven of Virginia's community colleges will be using the grant, including the Virginia Infrastructure Academy.

“The workers trained in these technologies will be employed by the businesses that build data centers, and their skills will travel to other similar projects when other projects arise,” said associate vice chancellor for Career Education and Workforce Programs, Randy Stamper.

The DOL's Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs grant program was launched in April 2023 with a closing date for applications in July 2023. In this first round, the program has granted $94 million in funding to 34 public-private partnerships across 25 states.

Details about the grants awarded have not yet been fully released. A second round of funding will open in March 2024.