Photo: North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue

North Carolina and Microsoft are launching a public-private partnership to provide technology training to the state's residents at no cost, Gov. Bev Perdue announced Thursday, Nov. 19.

Microsoft will distribute 23,700 vouchers to any North Carolinians who wish to participate in a technology-training course. The vouchers will be distributed through the North Carolina Community College System, the Division of Workforce Development in the N.C. Department of Commerce, and the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

The courses, which range from introductory to intermediate in difficulty, will be focused on training students to use Microsoft technology. According to a joint press release, the state will receive 10,500 vouchers for Microsoft Windows and Office online training, 10,500 vouchers for Microsoft Business Certification exams and 2,700 vouchers for advanced technical professional level online training.

Gail Thomas-Flynn, Microsoft vice president of state and local government, joined Perdue for the announcement. Thomas-Flynn said the initiative is part of Microsoft's Elevate America campaign, an initiative the company launched earlier this year to retrain workers in technology.

"We launched Elevate America back in February in an effort to strengthen U.S. competitiveness in the global economy by improving access to the education and workforce skills required for twenty-first century jobs," Thomas-Flynn told Government Technology. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that in five years, more than three-fourths of all jobs in the U.S. will require at least a basic level of technology skills. But achieving this requires private-public collaboration, so we've partnered with governments, schools, community organizations and local companies to maximize our effectiveness and tailor the programs to local needs."

Perdue said retraining workers to be proficient in technology would better prepare North Carolina for the future, while helping meet the job demands of the present.

"This partnership will provide North Carolinians with another opportunity to retrain for today's new economy," Perdue said. "At a time when businesses are seeking a highly qualified, well trained workforce, Elevate America can provide potential employees with new skills to succeed."

 

Chad Vander Veen  |  Associate Editor