Mass and NY partner with Microsoft to offer free tech training

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of New York recently announced plans to offer free technology training through Microsoft’s Elevate America program. Nearly 100,000 Microsoft online training and certification vouchers will be offered to unemployed residents of the two states, at no cost to the recipients. New York and Massachusetts join thirteen other states’ efforts to provide technology training.

“This public-private partnership is exactly the kind of innovative program we need to help our workforce advance,” Governor Patrick said in a statement. “Massachusetts residents will benefit from the opportunity to strengthen their computer skills as we continue lead the way in businesses that rely heavily upon technology.”

Through One-Stop Career Centers across the two states, unemployed residents will be able to take e-learning courses for Windows Vista, Microsoft Office, or IT Professional and Developer level courses. Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 certification exams will also be available through the program.

In an interview last summer with CivSource, Gail Thomas-Flynn, vice president of State and Local Government at Microsoft, said the company has a long-standing commitment to workforce development and e-learning. “Elevate America is the culmination of Microsoft’s digital inclusion and literacy efforts to address economic conditions,” she said. “The program also furthers the stated goals of the stimulus package, namely by increasing competition and building the economy through skills and educational development.”

First launched in February of 2009, Elevate America is designed to touch at least two million people over the next three years. The program seeks to develop technological skills in two ways: 1) a series of Online tutorials to help build digital literacy and basic computer skills, and 2) an e-learning and certification exam voucher to individuals seeking intermediate and advanced computer skills using Microsoft products.

Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State Chief Information Officer and Director of the state Office for Technology, said, “In the current economic climate, initiatives which simultaneously increase citizens’ quality of life, boost our economy, create jobs, and educate our workforce are desperately needed. Many New Yorkers should take advantage of this innovative program, and this unique public/private partnership.”

To learn more about Elevate in America in New York, click here. For residents in Massachusetts, click here.

And for additional information on which states are offering the program, or on how to get your state involved, click here.

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