Microsoft, AACC Award Information Technology Training Grants To 13 Community Colleges

Microsoft, AACC Award Information Technology Training Grants To 13 Community Colleges

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 1998 — Aiming squarely at the current information technology (IT) work-force shortage, Microsoft Corp. and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) today awarded 13 Working Connections cash grants totaling nearly $2.7 million, with $3 million to $5 million in supplemental software gifts, to community colleges across the country. The grants will fund the creation or enhancement of an IT curriculum, faculty training and outreach to local community groups and industry. Recruitment and support of students from disadvantaged populations also are key factors in all of the winning proposals.

The Working Connections project was established in 1997 by Microsoft and AACC to build long-term, community-based educational programs that address the shortage of workers qualified to fill a growing number of IT jobs. The grants awarded today represent the first of three 28-month award cycles to be disbursed over five years. The others are planned to be announced in February 1999 and February 2000. The 13 colleges receiving grants this year were selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants in a competitive process.

“Working Connections encourages educators to partner with community groups and local industry to create truly effective IT training programs,”
said David Pierce, CEO of AACC.
“Not only will Working Connections result in much-needed IT programs across the country, it will provide an unprecedented opportunity for disadvantaged people to pursue careers in this lucrative and growing field.”
Each of the colleges has identified disadvantaged populations in its area for recruitment.

“These grants mark an important step in bolstering the quality and availability of IT training offered by U.S. community colleges,”
said Bill Neukom, senior vice president of law and corporate affairs at Microsoft.
“Because of their strong local ties to business and community groups, community colleges represent some of the best training ground available for careers in today’s high-tech marketplace.”

The following eight colleges were chosen as Connections Colleges and will each receive cash grants ranging from $225,000 to $300,000:

  • Aims Community College, Greeley, Colo.

  • Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York

  • College of Alameda, Peralta Community College District, Alameda, Calif.

  • Charles County Community College, La Plata, Md.

  • Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville, Iowa

  • Midlands Technical College, Columbia, S.C.

  • Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, N.M.

  • Walters State Community College, Morristown, Tenn.

The following five colleges were chosen as Connections Mentor Colleges and will each receive cash grants of $110,000. These colleges were selected for their existing, high-quality technology programs. The Connections Mentor Colleges will offer guidance and support to the Connections Colleges as they implement their IT training programs:

  • Bellevue Community College, Bellevue, Wash.

  • DeAnza College, Cupertino, Calif.

  • Richland College, Dallas

  • Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, Mass.

  • Valencia Community College, Orlando, Fla.

The fields of training offered in the grant-winning applications closely mirrored the IT employment needs of the college’s own business community, helping ensure that students are prepared and qualified for local jobs. All Connections Colleges have demonstrated the capability to provide staff and faculty with resources in the business community and at Connections Mentor Colleges to ensure that they develop the skills and tools they need to provide high-quality IT training to students. Most of the Working Connections grants announced today will result in programs available to students in the fall of 1998.

The American Association of Community Colleges represents more than 1,100 community colleges and their more than 10 million students – almost half of all undergraduates enrolled in U.S. colleges.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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