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  Spring 2021 SEMESTER COVID-19 UPDATE: The EMCC campus is open to EMCC employees and students attending on-campus classes. All student support services are available online. Students are encouraged to contact their instructors for additional information.

Microsoft Datacenter Academy Coming to EMCC & GCC

Datacenter announcement image Woman in datacenter image

Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) and Glendale Community College (GCC) are committed to providing their students with state-of-the-art education. Microsoft is, too. The tech giant has chosen to team up with the two West Valley schools for its ninth Microsoft Datacenter Academy in the world.

“We are always looking for ways to better prepare our students for in-demand IT jobs,” said Dr. Rey Rivera, EMCC President.

The Academy lab and equipment, planned to be housed in Estrella Hall on the EMCC campus, will serve students from both EMCC and sister college GCC. Both colleges will offer Datacenter Academy courses and the lab at EMCC will provide students with cutting-edge, hands-on experience. Classes will be taught by EMCC and GCC faculty, and Microsoft staff will assist with curriculum development and equipment training. They may also serve as adjunct faculty or guest lecturers.

“EMCC and GCC 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. “That is why we are so proud to team up with Microsoft in establishing the Datacenter Academy at our colleges.”

Paula Livingston, EMCC Dean of Instruction and Occupational Education, said Microsoft was interested in partnering with colleges in the West Valley to support the development of a Datacenter Academy due to the construction of its three datacenters in the area. The datacenters — two in Goodyear and one in El Mirage — are under construction with plans to go online in 2021.

“This partnership 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,” Dr. Rivera said.

As part of the Datacenter Academy implementation, Microsoft donates datacenter equipment to facilitate hands-on learning. The typical Datacenter Academy lab contains three to six rack cabinets with a mix of servers, storage devices, and networking equipment. Students can use the equipment to receive hands-on experience with industry-standard hyper cloud hardware.

“We don’t know for sure exactly what our lab layout will be, but we will work with Microsoft to ensure that the lab meets all of the requirements for the Academy and maximizes the space allocated,” Livingston said.

Students participating in the Datacenter Academy will take courses to earn a Certificate of Completion and/or an Associate of Applied Science Degree. Additionally, they will be prepared to potentially earn certifications in several CompTIA areas such as A+, Security+, Network+, Cloud+, and Server+.

While our Microsoft Datacenter Academy does not open until Fall 2021, it’s not too late to take classes this Fall at EMCC. The college offers nearly 200 Flexible Start classes, which begin Oct. 19. Visit to learn more!

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