The State of Utah announces new public-private partnership with Microsoft that offers technical training to Utahns
May 26, 2010
Microsoft's Elevate America vouchers now available through Utah College of Applied Technology for free, online training and certification
Salt Lake City, UT — Utah's Education Director Christine Kearl today announced an innovative public-private partnership between the State of Utah and Microsoft in conjunction with their Elevate America initiative. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Utah State Capitol and attended by representatives of the Governor's office, Utah College of Applied Technology, Microsoft, Governor's Office of Economic Development, Department of Workforce Services and Certiport.
"The State of Utah is proud to partner with Microsoft to provide vouchers for free online technology training and certification," Governor Gary R. Herbert said. "Utah already boasts a highly educated workforce, and now, through this innovative public-private partnership, more than 5,000 vouchers will be available to Utahns who want to improve their job skills and become even more valuable to the marketplace."
The stated goal of Microsoft's Elevate America program is to provide one million Microsoft learning vouchers at no cost throughout the United States during the next three years. "Elevate America helps equip people with the crucial technology skills necessary to get a job in today's competitive workplace," said Paul Mayfield, Director of Engineering at Microsoft's Software Development Center in Lehi.
"Utah is a major player in the Information Technology (IT) industry," said Senator Orrin Hatch. During the height of the recession, high tech firms in Utah created around 66,000 jobs and the growth of IT companies in the Beehive State outpaced that of Arizona, California, Colorado and Washington. The intent of the Elevate America program is to continue this trend by training more people, creating more jobs and helping Utah further hone its technological edge. It is also believed that the program will help displaced workers with the necessary skills to get back on their feet and provide for their families."
The free vouchers will be distributed statewide by Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) and their education partners. "The Utah College of Applied Technology is all about providing people with the skills that Utah companies need to be successful," said UCAT President Robert Brems. "In partnership with the state of Utah, Microsoft and Certiport, our eight state-wide UCAT campuses can help Utahns elevate their job skills and increase awareness of technical training opportunities throughout the state."
The free e-learning vouchers will be available for 90 days, from May 26 – August 24 (while supplies last), and will be distributed statewide through Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) and their education partners. The vouchers can be obtained by going to www.ucat.edu and clicking on the Elevate America information banner. Voucher recipients will then receive their voucher from one of UCAT's eight regional applied technology campuses or from Salt Lake Community College or the College of Eastern Utah.
A total of 5,625 online e-learning vouchers are now available for the following Microsoft programs:
- 2,500 vouchers are for Microsoft Business Professional E-Learning courses. A voucher recipient may select any one of the Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, etc.) and receive up to 6-8 individual lessons (about one hour each) within that program. This is online, self-paced learning via the internet that can be conducted from multiple locations and/or computers. Vouchers must be activated by August 24, and then will be accessible for training for up to 12 months.
- 2,500 vouchers are for Microsoft certification exams provided by Certiport. Each certification is for a specific Microsoft Office product. Exam vouchers are for Office 2003 (1,250 vouchers) and Office 2007 (1,250). After training, voucher recipients will be referred to a Certiport-certified testing center near them (most UCAT campuses have these testing centers) for testing. All exams must be taken by August 24.
- 625 vouchers are for Information Technology Professional E-Learning courses for more advanced products such as Sequel that would be used by IT professionals.
Utah's Department of Workforce Services is delighted that this training will now be available to Utahns and today introduced the first voucher recipient from Utah, Theodore Cunningham.
"UCAT is a valued partner and the new Elevate America program will provide an excellent opportunity for DWS clients to receive additional training referrals," said Kristen Cox, executive director of Utah's Department of Workforce Services.
Certiport, a Utah-based company, is a Microsoft partner, working in support of Elevate America and displaced workers nationwide. Across the country and especially in Utah, Certiport is helping provide a pathway for acquiring the skills needed for employment.
"Certification is a key differentiator in our competitive job market," said Quinn Sutton, senior vice president at Certiport. "Increasingly, employers want to know that you can hit the ground running. The Microsoft Office Specialist certification does just that."
Microsoft announced the "Elevate America" program at the National Governor's Conference in February 2009. The initiative is expected to provide up to 1 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.
For more information on the Elevate America initiative, or to register for a free voucher, please go to www.ucat.edu and click on the Elevate America banner.