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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 GCN.com.

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