Microsoft Offers Free Training to Virginians

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has announced that the state is partnering with Microsoft to offer free technology training and skills certification to residents of the Old Dominion.

Through the company's Elevate America program, Microsoft will work with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to distribute 11,250 vouchers for technology training and certification.

"This partnership will provide thousands of Virginians with the technology skills they need to attain and sustain employment as the economy recovers," Kaine said. "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."

The company is offering 5,000 vouchers for online training, 5,000 vouchers for online testing and 1,250 vouchers for more advanced-level training. Each training voucher can be used at a community college for either a free class to boost general computer skills or training on one of the programs in Microsoft Office Suite, such as PowerPoint, Excel or Word.

The testing vouchers are redeemable for an assessment, which shows that a student is Microsoft-certified in a certain field, if he or she receives a passing grade. Advanced-level vouchers will be used for training for students on an information technology professional career path in areas such as Web development and database management, the company said.

VCCS will work with the Education Department and Virginia's workforce centers to distribute 1,500 training vouchers, 1,500 testing vouchers and 400 advanced-level vouchers. VCCS will keep the remaining vouchers for distribution as needed on a first-come, first-served basis, Microsoft said.

Virginia is the second state to partner with Microsoft on Elevate America; Washington was the first. The goal of the initiative is to provide 1 million vouchers in the U.S. for Microsoft e-Learning courses and some Microsoft certification exams at no or low cost to recipients.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is the senior writer of features and labs, for

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 Donald Dockman Tucson AZ

This should be available in EVERY US STATE. We can sure use this in Arizona!

Tue, Feb 2, 2010 Samantha Centreville, VA

I would like to get this free microsoft training. Please let me know where or how do I sign up for this. I live in Centreville, VA. Is there a location close to my house to sign up for this? Please let me know ASAP. Thank you!

Thu, Dec 24, 2009 Lisa Morgan Petersburg, VA

I thought the same thing when I learned of this program, Ashley. I just spent $1350 for a QuickCert subscription--can I get a voucher to reimbures me? As for the second concern, have you ever taken the certification tests? They are HARD. I do not think that having the training paid for will make a bit of difference in terms of flooding the market with certified professionals, because no voucher will give someone the brains, dedication, and commitment to get certified. That's what puts you (and me) a step above.

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 Joe Revelle Connecticut

I would love to see this program offered in Connecticut. Is there anything that I can do to get it started?I recently lost my job and could use more training but I just can't afford it.

Mon, Jul 6, 2009 Ashley Mitchell Virginia Beach, VA

Is there anyway to get a reimbursment? I just signed-up at TCC in Norfolk for the MCAS certification towards the end of May 2009. It cost me $1,295 out of pocket and now it's free??? If everyone takes advatage of the certifications, they will not be as "in demand" or looked at on the same calibur as before. I sure hope Kaine is willing to cut me a check! I took this certification to be a step above the rest in my field, now we are all going to be equal. Wow! Socialism at it's greatest, right?

Thu, Jun 25, 2009 atul ugale pune(lonavala)

I am second year mca student. I want to join free microsoft training. What should reqd. qulification & what are the process to join the training.

Fri, Jun 19, 2009 Tony Samaniego

Do you offer this generous opportunity to those that are disable. Tony

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