Virginia workforce to receive free training, certification from Microsoft

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine announced today a major workforce development initiative alongside officials from Microsoft.

Through Microsoft’s Elevate America program, in partnership with the Virginia Community College System, (VCCS) the Department of Education and Virginia’s workforce centers, displaced workers will be able to receive free technology training and certification.

“Virginia already has one of the best workforce development systems in the country,” Virginia Governor Tim Kaine said in a statement. “This partnership will provide thousands of Virginians with the technology skills they need to attain and sustain employment as the economy recovers. At the same time, this critical training will ensure Virginia’s workforce emerges from this economic downturn stronger than ever—and ready to compete on a global level.”

First launched in February of this year, Microsoft’s Elevate America will provide up to 1 million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams at no or low cost to recipients. The company expects to provide online and real world technology training to as many as two million people during the next three years.

In addition to Virginia, the Washington-based company has partnered with the state of Florida and New York, as well as its home state, to offer in-depth technology programs, including some with the potential to result in certifications of training.

Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector Vice President Linda Zecher said, “Elevate America is all about equipping people with the crucial skills necessary to get a job in today’s competitive workplace.”

Virginia’s participation will be facilitated in part by VCCS, which will distribute 3,400 of the 11,500 vouchers for online training, testing and advanced level training for Virginia’s workforce. “Virginia’s community colleges form a natural network for partnering with Microsoft to provide the technology training individuals need to gain a competitive edge,” Dr. Genn DuBois, Chancellor of VCCS, said.

“We believe this type of public-private partnership will play an important role in rebuilding Virginia’s, and the nation’s, economy,” Ms. Zecher added.

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