NCMCO, Academic & Data Center Industry Leaders to Launch Nation's First Mission Critical Operations Degree

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The National Consortium for Mission Critical Operations (NCMCO), led by Cleveland Community College in Shelby, North Carolina, announced today the launch of the nation's first Mission Critical Operations concentration offered to undergraduate students. Students who graduate from the 2-year program will receive an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Mission Critical Operations (AAS MCO). Cleveland Community College began planning for the mission critical program in January 2013 and spear-headed the efforts to apply for a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant in early July 2013, which they were awarded over $23 million in September 2013 for the program's development.
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"The consortium strives to be a national center of educational excellence and an ambassador for the mission critical operations field," says Dr. Shannon Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Instruction and Student Development, at Cleveland Community College. "In partnering with leading data center businesses and industry organizations, NCMCO ensures a demand driven approach to our educational offerings."

Official industry partners of the grant include 7x24 Exchange -- The Carolinas Chapter, Automation Federation, and ISA, among several other large Fortune 500 organizations who supported the development and marketing of the grant as well as the curation of the curriculum and selection of subject matter experts.

"As our daily lives become more automated, integrated and connected it will be up to mission critical professionals to sustain and protect our critical infrastructures," says Mike Marlowe, Managing Director/Director of Government Relations for the Automation Federation. "NCMCO is focused on educating the next wave of our technical workforce to be readily prepared to meet these new demands."

In addition to the official grant sponsors, NCMCO has partnered with data center industry organizations to add to its roster of subject matter experts and grow the support of the on-going development of the concentration's curriculum. Among these partners is Sentinel Data Centers, a leading owner, developer and operator of enterprise-grade data centers, who operates a 420,000 sq. colocation facility in Durham, North Carolina.

"As evidenced by the large volume of new data center development in the state, North Carolina has proven an optimal locale for housing mission critical infrastructure," says Brian Baker, Vice President of Business Development, Southeast, at Sentinel Data Centers. "The highly trained, hyper-technical workforce that the NCMCO program will help create, perfectly complements the state's low power and construction costs, minimal environmental risk and ease of access, and will further cement North Carolina's standing as the nation's preeminent location for data centers."

Classes for the Mission Critical Concentration began at Cleveland Community College on August 17. The program carries full accreditation and academic standing, which allows students to apply for financial aid or use Veteran's Benefits funds. A transfer pathway is also being developed for continued study at a baccalaureate level. The Mission Critical Operations concentration is scheduled to be offered at Wake Tech, Nash Community College, and Southern Regional Technical College - Tifton starting fall of 2016.

In an age where a lot of what we do is controlled by the push of a button, the click of a mouse, or a swipe of a credit card, knowing and understanding what Mission Critical means is crucial to all of our well beings. In partnership with academic and industry partners, Cleveland Community College is leading the development of a Mission Critical Operations pathway that leads to certificates, diplomas, an Associate in Applied Science degree and beyond. The National Consortium for Mission Critical Operations provides mission critical job skills training to the nation's workforce, partnering with business and industry to ensure a demand-driven approach to educational offerings. The consortium strives to be a national center of excellence and an ambassador for the mission critical operations field. To learn more about NCMCO or how to apply for the Mission Critical Operations program visit

About ISA
The International Society of Automation ( is a nonprofit professional association that sets the standard for those who apply engineering and technology to improve the management, safety, and cybersecurity of modern automation and control systems used across industry and critical infrastructure. Founded in 1945, ISA develops widely used global standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; hosts conferences and exhibits; and provides networking and career development programs for its 36,000 members and 350,000 customers around the world.

ISA owns, a leading online publisher of automation-related content, and is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (, an association of non-profit organizations serving as "The Voice of Automation." Through a wholly owned subsidiary, ISA bridges the gap between standards and their implementation with the ISA Security Compliance Institute ( and the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute (

About The Automation Federation
The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization of sixteen (16) member organizations and six working groups engaged in automation activities. The Automation Federation enables its members to more effectively fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications, and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is the "Voice of Automation." For more information about the Automation Federation, visit

About Sentinel Data Centers
Sentinel Data Centers, LLC, is a leading owner, developer and operator of multi-tenant, and build-to-suit enterprise-grade data centers. Founded in 2001, Sentinel was an early pioneer in the "wholesale" data center business. Since its inception, Sentinel has developed more than 1.6 million square feet and 120 megawatts of best-in-class multi-tenant and build-to- suit data center solutions for a diversity of Fortune 500 enterprises across multiple industries, including financial services, healthcare, technology and biotechnology. Sentinel strives to stay at the forefront of evolving best practices for data center design, development and operation, and maintains a flexible and transparent business model that is grounded in customer service. To learn more visit