Skanska partners with Microsoft to build lab space for community college students

As the fifth largest city in the country, Phoenix is emerging as a leader in high technology, manufacturing, research and advanced business services. With this growth comes the need for trained professionals to work in this growing sector.

In addition to donating resources to build out a lab space, Microsoft provided EMCC $60,000 scholarship funding to support the IT department.

Skanska and Microsoft are eager to help offer local students early exposure and hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

This is why, in early 2020, Skanska and Microsoft collaborated and donated resources to build out a lab space to support the Microsoft Datacenter Academy program at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) in Avondale, Arizona.

The EMCC Datacenter Academy lab space helps prepare EMCC and neighboring Glendale Community College (GCC) students for future information technology (IT) careers.

Students with an IT degree from EMCC or GCC can pursue careers as electrical or mechanical engineers, datacenter facility operators or IT program managers.

To help us bring the lab to life, we also teamed with several local subcontractors who donated their time for construction, mechanical, engineering and electrical work.

Microsoft donated several racks of servers to EMCC while the Skanska team purchased other materials including several computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units.

The remaining materials and time were donated by our subcontractors/design firm partners: KW Mission Critical, Corbins Electric, Bel Aire Mechanical, West Coast Partitions, Jocoran Glass, Lanmor Door, Trademark Concrete and InteriorWorx Flooring.

Due to COVID-19, many of the lab materials had long delivery times, but we were able to finish the buildout in time for students to use it in the fall of 2021.

Preparing students for future IT careers

Looking ahead, Phoenix is well-positioned for continued growth in the IT and technology industry. To support sustained growth, the region needs a strong pipeline of trained workers.

When Skanska was asked to support current and future students earning degrees that will provide local jobs, we were honored to make this opportunity a reality.

Now, EMCC and GCC students can learn and study in the lab space we built in collaboration with Microsoft, earn a degree in IT or industry certification, and become eligible for a variety of highly skilled, well-paying technology careers. The thought of that puts a smile on our faces.

We are deeply committed to the communities where we live and work, and we are proud to partner with Microsoft to support inclusive economic opportunities for future generations.

Interested in shaping the community where you live? Apply to one of our open positions here.

Last updated: 2/3/2022