JLL to train the next generation of data center operators

JLL has joined forces with Nomad Futurist Foundation to increase access to the data center industry through free educational and training opportunities for the next generation of digital and technical talent. Nomad Futurist Foundation is a non-profit organization established to demystify the world of digital infrastructure and the related technologies it requires, and this strategic collaboration is designed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to embark on a career in the data center industry.

JLL’s Operational and Professional Development experts have created an industry-leading, mission-critical curriculum to train and maintain JLL’s data center technical staff. Comprised of more than 80 courses across energy management, critical environment procedures, maintenance operations and health and safety disciplines, this comprehensive training program keeps JLL techs at the leading edge of digital infrastructure facility management. JLL is working to create a comprehensive, 16-hour curriculum from these courses free of charge for Nomad Futurist Foundation participants globally who meet specific criteria.

“In today’s world of accelerating technology needs, data centers are not only a foundational part of how our society functions but a catalyst for fueling innovation that benefits industries and communities across the globe,” said Sanjay Rishi, Americas CEO, JLL Work Dynamics. “The need for talent and capacity to operate this critical infrastructure is projected to grow exponentially, and JLL is committed to equipping the next generation of data center operators with the skills they need to be part of one of the fastest-growing and best-compensated industries.”

The data center industry is experiencing massive growth, driven by demand for Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud services and expanded use of web-enabled devices, according to JLL’s Global Data Centers 2024 Outlook. The high-tech data center industry requires specific skill sets to both construct and staff, and, as the industry expands, so do employment requirements. Lack of available talent is one of the biggest challenges facing the data center industry. An aging workforce is compounded by limited entrants into the data center space due to poor visibility into the types of jobs and skills needed.

“There are nearly 39 GW of data center space under construction globally today, and the ability – especially from investor clients – to recruit and retain qualified talent to have the processes to deliver on day one is becoming more and more of a challenge,” said Matt Landek, Managing Director, Data Center & Telecom, JLL Work Dynamics. “We at JLL fiercely believe in cultivating new talent and nurturing professional growth, which is why we facilitate technical training for our workforce across various job roles and are expanding the training to Nomad Futurist Foundation participants.”

Primarily targeted towards high school students and those without access to sufficient resources, the JLL Technical Development Program (TDP) will be available either through in-person classroom sessions or online. Curated by Bryon Price, Senior Director – Technical Training, Operational and Professional Development, and his team at JLL, this engaging educational initiative incorporates a multifaceted approach, integrating practical exercises that simulate real-world scenarios in the areas of data center operations and maintenance. Upon successful completion of the curriculum, individuals will be well-prepared to commence their professional journey in the field, starting in entry-level roles as data center operators or maintenance technicians.

“Bringing together our organizations to collaborate on the looming ‘age-out’ crisis that will be upon us shortly is imperative for our sustainability and resiliency in this industry,” said Mark Gusakov, Advisory Board member and Governance Chairman for Nomad Futurist. “Creating the connective tissue across all organizations in the digital infrastructure landscape is the goal of the Nomad Futurist Foundation, and it’s only the beginning. As we build and develop a robust platform, we not only demystify the shared knowledge platform for emerging talent in our industry but also provide programs, scholarship, internship and apprenticeship opportunities to make the content readily available and easily accessible for everyone.”

The TDP encompasses four distinct tiers, specifically tailored to the following key positions: Operator, Chief Engineer, Facilities Manager and Senior Facilities Manager. Each of these roles is afforded meticulous attention, ensuring that critical technical facets are deeply comprehended and that each certified individual exhibits demonstrable aptitude and proficiency in their respective domain. JLL and Nomad Futurist Foundation expect the program to be available globally as early as this year.

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