Alabama Department of Education and Microsoft announce new statewide technology program | News
Montgomery, Ala. – Today, the Alabama Department of Education and the Microsoft Corporation formally announced the official launch of the Alabama Microsoft IT Academy Program. This new initiative is focused on further developing the overall technology skills of students.
Alabama’s Microsoft IT Academy Program will provide opportunities for students to earn certifications in Microsoft product areas, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint. This program will be available in high schools statewide and will provide students with the valuable “21st century” technical skills they need to be successful in both college and their future careers.
Governor Robert Bentley said, “Offering industry certification to Alabama’s students will help to ensure growth in our workforce. Adding qualified individuals to local businesses will improve economic success.”
The Microsoft IT Academy Program will provide participating local school systems with access to Web-based instruction, software lab licenses, E-Learning, and official course materials. Course topics will range from computer basics to high-level programming and database management. Students will get hands-on experience with the latest Microsoft software and E-Learning resources. This program will also allow students to earn professional-level workplace credentials and technology skills before they graduate from high school.
“Through this program we can assure business and industry of a skill set in the area of technology and insure students entering college are equipped with the technical skills to succeed academically,” said State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice.
This is the pilot year for this initiative. Currently, one school in each local school system throughout the state has the opportunity to participate in this program. Starting during the 2013-2014 school year, the Microsoft IT Academy Program will be expanded to additional schools.
“The Microsoft IT Academy program makes education more relevant to students so they can move from learning to earning,” said Cameron Evans, Chief Technology Officer for U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp. “Alabama schools, teachers and students are now at an advantage in keeping pace with changing technology and curriculum demands. The program also gives students equal access to the IT skills and certification they need to both prepare for advanced studies and to improve career opportunities with higher earning potential.”
IT certifications are increasingly being recognized as valuable credentials nationwide. Many universities now ask that incoming students be proficient in technology areas, such as Excel and PowerPoint, before applying for admissions. This initiative is important because it will help Alabama’s students to be better prepared for their futures.
The Microsoft IT Academy Program works to bridge the gap between education and the real-world-of-work, by equipping students with the technology-based skills needed for successful careers in today’s highly competitive job market.
Benefits of Program
Students will have access to official course materials that can help them prepare to acquire industry-recognized Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate, or Microsoft Certified Professional certifications. The program also focuses on helping students, become both college- and career-ready.
Benefits to schools participating in the Microsoft IT Academy
Access to many programs, including the following:
· IT Academy Members’ website
· E-Learning curriculum, with more than 1,500 online, multimedia courses to choose from, including games, simulations and videos to provide students with a hands-on learning experience
· Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum for students who are new to computing skills
· Microsoft E-Reference Library, a searchable library of more than 120 Microsoft Press books. Each school will receive five subscriptions
· Access to MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDN AA), a program providing students and teachers in STEM disciplines with access to Microsoft software developer tools and platforms under the MSDN AA license
Alabama is the seventh state in the U.S. to be invited to participate in this innovative program.
To learn more about Alabama’s newMicrosoft IT Academy Program, contact Alabama State Department of Education Career and Technical Education Administrator Dawn Morrison, at 334-242-9109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Information Source: Alabama Department of Education