“State-wide initiatives are underway to bring advanced cloud computing to all Virginians and sectors of the economy, but we must do more," said Dean Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D. in a recent letter to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her message on building a digitally enabled workforce was published in the newspaper's January 25 edition. Read it below, or on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website:
Expanding cloud access
A recent column by Shannon Kellogg accurately highlighted Virginia’s status as the “cloud capital of the world” and credited strong public-private partnerships between government, industry and higher education for making the commonwealth “the single greatest concentration of data centers on Earth.”
Virginia is fortunate to have the greatest concentration of data centers and network infrastructure on the planet, but these assets are highly concentrated in Northern Virginia and selected urban locations. We must create improved access and programming to reach all Virginians, giving more people opportunities to enter the high-value, digital workforce. The success of existing industries, as well as attracting new ones, depends on creating a diverse, digitally-enabled workforce.
State-wide initiatives are underway to bring advanced cloud computing to all Virginians and sectors of the economy, but we must do more. Industry partners tell us our students should have direct experience on the most current digital tools.
To make this a reality, a broad-based group from Virginia’s colleges, universities and industry, led by Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Engineering, have been working to create the Commonwealth Center for Cloud Computing (C4). It's designed to expand access to advanced computers, digital tools, hardware and software not currently available to most students in the commonwealth. The General Assembly authorized infrastructure funding to help launch C4. This is great news for students, parents and every organization in the commonwealth.
State officials tell us Virginia loses large-scale economic development opportunities to Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Each of these states already has highly advanced computing consortia operating from their universities in large-scale, public-private partnerships. Initiatives like C4 can accelerate these digital opportunities for everyone across the commonwealth. Let’s start writing the next chapter of our history now.
Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D.
The Alice T. and William H. Goodwin, Jr. Dean
College of Engineering
Virginia Commonwealth University