Virginia Officials Call AWS Data Centers in Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline and Lousia ‘Game-Changers’

Earlier this week at Germanna Community College, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other state and local officials called Amazon Web Services’ $35 billion investment in Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline and Louisa counties “transformational,” adding that related community college training will prepare local people of all ages for high-paying jobs.

Gov. Youngkin spoke at an AWS Data Center Campus Project Launch hosted by Germanna and the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance at GCC’s campus in Spotsylvania.

AWS will invest $35 billion in Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline and Louisa counties over the next 15 years.

The governor said It all starts with a well-trained workforce, and that AWS is partnering with Germanna and other Virginia Community Colleges, in addition to K-12 systems, to prepare local people to fill the high-tech jobs, many of which pay well without years of college.

The U.S. Department of Labor has given Virginia community colleges—Germanna, Laurel Ridge, Northern Virginia, Piedmont Virginia, Rappahannock and Southside, Brightpoint and Reynolds, a total of $5 million in grants to provide training for students who will fill jobs at AWS, and perhaps at other data centers as well.

Germanna will receive one of three project managers, along with equipment and retrofitting of current facilities. The grant also funds the licensing for the training for the next three years. It’s part of the Building Pathways to Infrastructure (BPI) Grant providing fiber optic training to students who will help install cables that transmit data to the new AWS data centers.  The fiber optic training is the first of other types of trainings that the colleges will be offering based on funding from the BPI grant to help build the data center (also electricians, skilled trades, etc.) and eventually operate the data center.

“What’s happening in our community college system is literally at the foundation of workforce development,” Gov. Youngkin said. “And as our as our chancellor of our community college, Dr. David Doré,  would say, we’re blurring lines, blurring lines all over the place. We’re blurring the lines with K through 12. We’re blurring the lines in higher ed, are blurring lines with people who are all of a sudden, at the age of 50, saying ‘Listen, I’m gonna do something else and find a pathway to get there.

“That’s what our community college system can do. It is a place to build bridges. It’s a place where opportunities are created, and what are what is happening in our 23 great community. Colleges like Germanna. Germanna is the literally at the foundation of the future of our workforce.”

Youngkin expressed excitement that data centers are opening across Virginia.

“We have representation in Wise County, Mecklenburg County, in Greater Richmond…there is truly a wave of opportunity now across the Commonwealth,” he added.

The governor said AWS has invested over $60 billion in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the last 18 years and supports thousands of jobs across the state.

“The partnership has stood the test of time, and that’s why we’re so excited that that partnership is expanding in such a large way.” Youngkin said, noting that 70% of global Internet traffic now comes through Virginia.

Amazon announced at the event that an AWS Community Fund for this region is committing $400,000 in grants to local community groups, schools, nonprofits and other organizations.

To learn more about this announcement read the coverage in the Fredericksburg Free Press and Potomac Local News.

Photo Credit: Alex Russell photo for Germanna