For Immediate Release - March 31, 2010

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES FREE TECHNOLOGY TRAINING PARTNERSHIP WITH MICROSOFT

26,000 vouchers for on-line technology training and testing accessed through the 37 One Stop Career Centers

BOSTON - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - Today, Governor Deval Patrick joined Microsoft Vice President of State and Local Government Gail Thomas Flynn at the JobNet Career Center in Boston to announce Elevate America, a major public-private partnership between the Commonwealth and Microsoft to provide 26,000 free vouchers for technology training and certification to residents across the Commonwealth.

"This public-private partnership is exactly the kind of innovative program we need to help our workforce advance," said Governor Patrick. "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."

"Elevate America adds to the range of resources available to people who are looking to develop or enhance their skills to meet the demands of the current job market," said Gail Thomas Flynn. "At Microsoft, we believe that this type of public-private partnership is playing an integral role in building the economy of states and localities across the country, making available the technology training that can expand employment opportunity for many."

Elevate America is part of Microsoft's overall Unlimited Potential efforts to provide technology training for at least two million people across the country over the next three years. Microsoft has made one million vouchers available for technology training and certification through 15 states, including: California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and now Massachusetts.

"This new opportunity could not come at a better time in my life," said Boston resident Tonya Tocci. "Elevate America's program will help me increase the skills I have, but in the long run, it will also help me to become a success both in my career and in the eyes of my family." Ms. Tocci is a trained cosmetologist who will use her voucher to enhance her administrative skills.

Elevate America is designed to increase the technology skills of individuals in two ways. First, a series of on-line tutorials help build the digital literacy skills for basic computer users. An on-line digital literacy tutorial covers using a mouse, keyboard, navigating the Internet, and using a computer. Digital Literacy coursework is free and available in over 30 languages.

In addition, the Elevate America Partnership will provide e-learning and certification exam vouchers to individuals seeking intermediate and advanced level computer skills using key Microsoft products. The vouchers from the Elevate America program will provide access to Microsoft E-Learning courses and select certification exams to recipients at no cost. The following coursework will be available at the state's 37 One Stop Career Centers:

 

  • 13,000 vouchers for e-learning courses in Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • 5,000 IT Professional and Developer level e-learning courses
  • 3,000 Microsoft Office 2003 Certifications Exams
  • 5,000 Microsoft Office 2007 Certifications Exams

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray praised the initiative, and said, "The momentum we have created with re-employment services funded by ARRA dollars is augmented by this wonderful program."

"The Microsoft trainings are a valuable resource, whether you are unemployed or employed," said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne F. Goldstein. "These resources provide the opportunity to learn new tools that are often part of a typical workplace or earn a Microsoft certificate in Office products to include in your resume credentials."

Microsoft is working with the state's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and its 37 One Stop Career Centers to distribute training vouchers starting today. Across the state, all 37 One Stop Career Centers joined in today's launch of Elevate America by holding open houses and working with their Workforce Investment Boards, local elected officials and customers to call attention to this program.

Vouchers must be activated before June 29, 2010 and on-line learning courses are available for a year after activation. Certification exams must be completed before June 29, 2010 at a participating testing location. Residents interested in these programs are urged to apply quickly. Those who wish to participate must register at any one of the state's 37 OneStop Career Centers. 

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