California has become the latest state to take advantage of free technology training from Microsoft with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's announcement Wednesday, March 10, that the state will participate in the company's Elevate America program.

Microsoft will give California 166,500 vouchers to distribute to residents for free, online technology training and certification in Microsoft programs.

"Creating jobs and boosting California's economy is my No.1 priority, and that is why I am so excited about this new public-private partnership with Microsoft. These free training vouchers will enhance the technology skills of thousands of Californians and make them more competitive in the job market," Schwarzenegger said.

Elevate America was founded in February 2009, and has since distributed 475,000 vouchers for technology training in 13 states, according to Microsoft. In California, the vouchers will be distributed through the state's Employment Development Department.

California will receive three types of vouchers from Microsoft: general e-learning Vouchers redeemable for online training on one Microsoft Windows Vista or Microsoft Office Suite program; IT professional learning vouchers for professionals interested in acquiring advanced skills in areas like Web development or database management; and Microsoft Certification Exam vouchers that enable a user to pursue a no-cost exam to become certified in one Microsoft program.