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2018-7-5

Microsoft Offers Scholarships in Southside Virginia

 

Microsoft Scholarship recipients recognized recently are (Front Row, Left to Right) Kashawn Hilliard, Jermaine Jackson, Sandra Sanders, Neal Brown, Hailey Walker, Salvador Hernandez-Gonzalez, and (Back Row L to R) Susan O’Shea, Hassan Davis, Brenda Cross, Shanell Toone, Christian Jackson and Abdulah Bell.  Not pictured Darrick Hearns and Kansas Morrison.

With a mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft has reached out to Southside Virginia in a big way.  There are 14 current recipients of the Microsoft Datacenter Scholarship making it possible for the students to take classes in Information Technology. 

The recipients of these awards were recognized with a ceremony and dinner held at the Estes Community Center on June 11, 2018.   The students take classes through Southside Virginia Community College’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill and the IT Academy (ITA) of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.

In his remarks, SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts said, “Program development in higher education is often a very slow process; but our experience at Southside is that the development process can be accelerated when there is strong industry support.”

He added, “When recruiting students into a new program, there are usually two questions:  One – How am I going to pay for the training? And two – Does it lead to a good job with family-sustaining wages?  Microsoft has responded to both concerns, first through its Datacenter Academy Scholarship and, secondly, through the possibility of employment in a world-class IT organization.  What Microsoft has done is to remove the barriers that often hinder student success and allow students to focus on learning and networking – both IT and social – so that they can succeed.”

Anthony Putorek, Microsoft Global Datacenter Field and Community Program Manager, said, “The effort of these students to go to class, the desire to learn, the hunger to do more fuels us.  That is why Microsoft puts in the effort to provide these programs.”

In 2010, Microsoft announced their investment in bringing a data center to Mecklenburg County’s Boydton Industrial Park.  Now, the company is investing in training Southside people for jobs where IT skills are needed. 

“In addition to bringing well-paying jobs to Southern Virginia, Microsoft is empowering individuals through the scholarships to gain the skills required to qualify for these jobs. How wonderful is that!” said Dr. Betty H. Adams, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

Scholarships are awarded to individuals from underrepresented populations in the IT field and covers tuition, books, and supplies.

Opportunities abound for students willing to work hard with the cutting-edge technology available locally, according to SVCC Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, Chad Patton.

The CITE and ITA labs are an example of how a partnership can make things happen for a community. The ongoing involvement of Microsoft is crucial for Southside Virginia. One amazing thing is that Microsoft wants every student to succeed whether they eventually come to the data center or attain employment elsewhere. 

SVHEC IT Academy Program Coordinator and Trainer Kelly Shotwell echoed his sentiment stating, “The partnership with Microsoft has been invaluable for the IT Academy. Microsoft donates equipment that enhances the hands-on experience of our training labs, a Microsoft team visits each class to talk with trainees about careers, and the Datacenter Academy Scholarships remove financial barriers to make training more accessible. But Microsoft is not just encouraging a pipeline to employment at the Boydton data center.  Instead, they believe that their partnership with the IT Academy benefits every trainee and every employer who hires an IT Academy trainee, thereby benefiting the Southside Virginia community.”

            Microsoft is dedicated to helping the community surrounding its data centers.  The Datacenter Academy Scholarship helps to increase diversity in the IT field by removing traditional barriers to education. In the fall, Microsoft will grant two diligent students the opportunity to experience a three-month paid internship at the Boydton facility.

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE PERSONNEL NOW EQUIPPED WITH NARCAN® TO RESPOND TO OPIOID OVERDOSE/EXPOSURE EMERGENCIES

NARCAN® Already Used by Trooper to Save Life of Lynchburg Woman

RICHMOND – As of July 1, 2018, all sworn Virginia State Police personnel through the rank of first sergeant will have been trained and equipped to quickly respond to dangerous opioid exposure and overdose emergencies. Through a grant administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), state police has purchased more than 2,100 NARCAN® dispensers for troopers, special agents, sergeants and first sergeants across the Commonwealth.

“Equipping our uniformed and investigative personnel with NARCAN® dispensers was necessary due to the continued increase in heroin and opioid overdoses in recent years in Virginia*,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Having this emergency treatment readily available to our personnel not only helps save the lives of Virginians, but also the lives of our first responders who are at risk of an inadvertent exposure to dangerous synthetic opioids during the course of their public safety duties.”

The state police NARCAN® dispensers and training have already saved one life in Virginia. On June 17, 2018, Virginia State Police Trooper J.A. Montgomery responded to assist local law enforcement in Lynchburg with a medical emergency. Upon arriving at the scene, the trooper encountered a deputy administering CPR to an adult female while waiting for a local EMS crew to respond. Trooper Montgomery, who had just been trained nine days earlier on the administration of his NARCAN® dispenser, immediately began to assess the woman’s condition and questioning those at the house as to the cause of her severe medical distress. Based on that critical information, he confirmed that she was suffering from an opioid-related overdose and successfully administered one naxolone dosage. CPR continued and a pulse was detected with EMS arriving moments later. The woman was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital and released from the hospital two days later.

NARCAN® Nasal Spray is an FDA-approved nasal form of naxolone, a prescription medicine. When appropriately administered, the medicine counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose. All trained state police personnel have been issued two dispensers to carry with them at all times. State police canine troopers have been issued three dispensers, for the protection of their dogs as an opioid exposure poses just as serious a threat to an animal’s safety.

The state police purchased its initial NARCAN® supply and additional inventory through a DBHDS grant of $154,800.

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