Data Center Industry Steps Up to Promote Diversity in Construction

May 13, 2024
David Pala of IBEW Local 26 share how the data center industry came together to support the Norman Hill Scholarship fund.

On May 2, Local 26 hosted a special dinner in honor of renowned civil rights and labor leader Norman Hill, which raised precious financial support for the Norman Hill Scholarship, a scholarship that promotes diversity in the construction field through the construction management program the Virginia Tech Myers-Lawson School of Construction.

Hill is president emeritus of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an organization of Black trade unionists seeking social, political, and economic justice for all; and was the first African American to graduate from Haverford College. He held the positions of Legislative Representative and Civil Rights Liaison within the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO, and was an early participant in the Civil Rights Movement, where he oversaw a labor delegation on the Selma to Montgomery marches and organized the Memphis march in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Together with the Electrical Alliance, Local 26 raised $150,000 for the scholarship program, due in large part to generous sponsorships from the Data Center Industry. In addition to providing funding for the construction management program at Virginia Tech, the scholarship also opens internship opportunities with IBEW Local 26’s signatory contractors and seeks to create pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training programs for minority communities. In short, the scholarship aims, “to promote minority participation in construction from bottom to top, apprenticeship to top management.” 

Sponsors of the event included: Dominion Energy, QTS Data Centers, Amazon, CloudHQ, Stack Infrastructure, Google Data Centers, Vantage Data Centers, The Data Center Coalition, and National Real Estate Advisors.

The reception, which was held at the Westin in Old Town Alexandria, VA, drew 110 trade unionists, sponsors, elected officials, and academics in support of this important scholarship. Local 26 was proud to honor Norman Hill and is thrilled to continue his work through the Norman Hill Scholarship. We are all the lucky beneficiaries of Hill’s dedication to civil rights and life’s work of elevating all members of our society.

About the Author

David Pala

David Pala handles marketing and communications and his portfolio includes grant management, business development and political organizing for IBEW Local 26.

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