West Virginia teams with Microsoft to offer technology training

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West Virginia teams with Microsoft to offer technology training

Microsoft’s Elevate America Provides Vouchers for Free Online Courses

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia and Microsoft have joined forces to distribute free technology training through Microsoft’s Elevate America program. Starting May 25, more than 6,000 vouchers for online training and certification courses will be offered to displaced workers and other residents of West Virginia.

“Technology is key in job placement and job enhancement,” said Gov. Joe Manchin. “I appreciate Microsoft partnering with WorkForce West Virginia on this initiative and providing us with a free work force development tool.”

Any West Virginia resident may request a voucher. The vouchers will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis through WorkForce West Virginia and its partner agencies. Joining WorkForce are regional Workforce Investment Boards, West Virginia Women’s Business Center, West Virginia Northern Community College, West Virginia Library Commission, Mission West Virginia, and Bridgemont Community and Technical College.

“WorkForce West Virginia is excited about the many partnerships this training program has advanced,” said Russell L. Fry, acting executive director.  “Elevate America is another step forward in our state’s work to advance technology skills in the work force.”

West Virginia will receive 3,000 vouchers for online training, 3,000 vouchers for certification exam testing, and 750 vouchers for more advanced level training. Each online training voucher is redeemable for one free training on one of Microsoft Windows Vista programs or on one of the programs in the Microsoft Office Suite. Each testing voucher is redeemable at a Microsoft Business Certification Exam Center. Advanced level online training vouchers are redeemable for training for individuals on technical and professional career tracks in areas such as Web development or database management.

 “Elevate America helps equip people with the crucial technology skills necessary to get a job in today’s competitive workplace,” said Beth DeHaven, Director, Mid-Atlantic State and Local Government at Microsoft Corporation. “We believe that this type of public-private partnership will play an important role in rebuilding the nation’s economy. Offering access to basic technology skills training will ultimately improve recipients’ employment prospects.”

Voucher distribution begins May 25 and will continue through Aug. 23, or until the supply of vouchers has been depleted. For more information on Elevate America in West Virginia, visit www.workforcewv.org or call 1-800-252-5627.

About Microsoft’s Elevate America Program:
Microsoft announced the “Elevate America” program at the National Governor’s Association Winter Conference in February 2009. The initiative is expected to provide up to one million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams at no or low cost to recipients.

The program, part of Microsoft’s overall Unlimited Potential efforts to improve social and economic opportunities for people, will provide technology training for up to two million people during the next three years.

Each voucher contains an access code provided by Microsoft. The code enables the recipient to enter an online training course, which must be activated within 90 days of the May 25 launch. Voucher recipients must complete training within 12 months. Each voucher is good for one free course or exam.

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For Immediate Release: May 25, 2010
Media Contact: Catherine Zacchi, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9340