More people are retiring from data centers than are joining the profession. Research suggests that about 33 percent of data center professionals in the US expect to retire by 2025, and as previously noted, the pool of candidates to replace them is small and shrinking by the day.

Our typical approach as an industry–relying on expedient solutions like upskilling employees or poaching from competitors– to filling open positions has long ignored the glaring fact that we’re simply not doing a good job of promoting our industry and the careers waiting inside the doors of our data centers.

But in every crisis, there’s opportunity. The growing talent shortage amid exploding growth in data center demand is an opportune time to reimagine our entire approach to talent development and acquisition, and how those strategies can align with broader goals to create high-value benefits that extend beyond a data center’s walls.

I’ve often made the case for incorporating data center education in college-level curriculum as a long-term, “renewable” solution to closing the talent gap and putting the industry on more solid footing for the future. My belief is that targeting these educational programs in regions with a high concentration of data centers, tech-related businesses, and potential workforce candidates is the ideal approach to creating widespread benefit for the industry, as well as for students, workers, and the local communities that become part of the fabric.

About the Author:

Thomas “TJ” Ciccone is Vice President of Operations at STACK INFRASTRUCTURE and teaches Data Center Operations at Northern Virginia Community College.