Facebook partnership offers on-the-job training
Written by Nicole Cappella Tue 7 Sep 2021
Facebook has announced Hardhat in Hand, a skilled labor building program which will provide paid training for individuals interested in data centre construction.
The program is centered in Prineville, Oregon, a key location for a number of Facebook owned data centres.
The Hardhat in Hand program is a partnership between Facebook, Central Oregon Community College (COCC) and Fortis Construction. The eight-week program will consist of four weeks of classroom education at the community college, in the COCC Workforce Development department. This will be supplemented by four weeks of on-the-job training at a relevant Facebook data centre site, supervised by the construction professionals from Fortis.
Participants in the Hardhat in Hand program will earn a certificate of completion from the COCC, with the opportunity to also earn OSHA 10 and CPR certifications. Hardhat in Hand is an initiative seeking to provide the labor force in key data centre locations with the construction skills necessary to build new facilities and expand and maintain existing facilities.
Not only is Hardhat in Hand expected to expand the talent pipeline in areas where Facebook data centres are located, it also aims to boost diversity in the construction industry and provide a career path that will be relevant and profitable to the participants as well.
In a post on the Prineville Data Centre Facebook page announcing the Prineville program, the company addressed the current and expected future shortage of skilled construction labor with data centre expertise.
“We currently have active data center construction projects in several different states which require thousands of construction employees. We anticipate having scheduled cohorts at all of our active construction sites by the end of 2022.”
The data centre construction market reached $207 billion in 2019, and is expected to continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% through 2027. This strong growth will be driven by a continued increase in data consumption and enterprise demand for cloud computing.
Many data centre construction projects were put on hold in 2020, due to restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as those restrictions were lifted many companies began building at an even faster rate both to make up for lost time and to meet increases in demand.
This rebound in data centre construction projects in the pipeline is then, in turn, increasing the demand for skilled labor in data centre construction. Additionally, the continued global increase in data consumption and the growing enterprise demand for cloud computing is expected to drive the growth of the market for data center construction.
Hardhat in Hand has been implemented successfully in other locations since 2019, according to the same company post. In it, Facebook noted the success of previous similar initiatives.
“We piloted the Hardhat in Hand program in data center locations beginning in the summer of 2019. We saw program completion rates of 90% or higher consistently and participants were uniformly positive about the impact the program had on their career. Most ended up accepting a position with our general contractor, a local subcontractor or another similar company.”
Tim Johnson, Workforce Development Manager for Prineville local contractor, Fortis Construction, expressed his company’s excitement to be a part of the Hardhat in Hand program. “Facebook, in partnership with Fortis, is building the infrastructure of the future and together, we want to expand the number of opportunities available for people to join the construction industry.”
Not only is Hardhat in Hand a paid training program, whereby participants are compensated for their eight weeks of classroom and on-the-job training, full-time career opportunities are available upon successful completion of the program. Career opportunities will be available in construction trades both specific to the data centre and more general, including: general labor, carpentry, electrical, sheet metal, plumbing, painting and more.
The Facebook post noted that there Fortis Construction currently has active data centre construction projects in several different states, requiring thousands of construction workers. The company expects to “have scheduled cohorts at all of our active construction sites by the end of 2022.”
Written by Nicole Cappella Tue 7 Sep 2021