REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 19, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a new education program that will empower academic institutions nationwide to launch on-site community technology training programs needed to prepare faculty to teach technology courses as well as help information technology (IT) staff stay up to date on the latest Microsoft® technologies. During the 1999-2000 school year, Microsoft plans to help more than 100 academic institutions begin participating in the Academic Professional Development Center program, a convenient and affordable solution that brings technology training courses directly to local communities. The Academic Professional Development Center program will enable faculty and staff to gain the skills and certification necessary to begin teaching Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Provider (AATP) program courses to students in their communities, as well as provide training and certification for IT staff at colleges and universities.
According to META Group Inc., a leading IT research and advisory firm, roughly 25,000 IT majors per year have graduated from American colleges and universities since 1997; however, at the same time, the demand for IT professionals in the United States has increased by 1 million workers and continues to grow at an average rate of 25 percent per year. In fact, META Group’s 1999 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide notes that the number of students graduating from U.S. colleges with computer and information systems degrees is far too low to meet current or future demand.
Despite this trend, the Washington, D.C.-based Computing Research Association (CRA) maintains that the traditional, formal educational system remains critically important to IT work-force training. In a recent study,
“The Supply of Information Technology Workers in the United States,”
the CRA found a severe shortage of qualified faculty in computer science programs at colleges and universities. To remedy this, CRA Executive Director William Aspray recommends that colleges and universities plan to provide significant, continuing funding and resources for IT-related faculty training and curricula and that business and industry groups lend more support, including helping with faculty and staff development programs and partnerships with schools.
“Microsoft recognizes that it is incumbent upon industry to support education’s efforts to build strong information technology curricula at high schools, community colleges, colleges and universities nationwide to prepare the skilled workers needed to fill jobs as network managers, systems administrators, programmers and more,”
said Bryan Watson, general manager of Microsoft’s Education Group.
“But we also realize that having well-trained faculty and IT staff to teach the courses and support technology infrastructures is a top priority at academic institutions. We therefore developed the Academic Professional Development Center program to offer a simple and affordable way to make training accessible to more staff and faculty.”
Microsoft created the Academic Professional Development Center program in response to educators’ requests for a program that would enable schools, whether small institutions or large educational systems, to offer technology training on Microsoft developer and networking technologies. One benefit of the program is that it allows faculty and technical staff to be trained in their local communities with other faculty and staff, cutting down on travel expenses and time away from jobs.
The program also helps faculty and IT staff prepare for Microsoft Certified Professional exams, industry-recognized credentials that validate their technical proficiency with Microsoft products and prepare faculty to teach Microsoft AATP courses. The Microsoft AATP program is a formal technology training and support program designed to prepare high school, community college, technical college and four-year college students for careers as network managers, systems administrators and programmers. The courses prepare students to develop, support and integrate computing systems with Microsoft products such as Visual Basic® and Visual C++® development systems, Windows® 95 and Windows 98 operating systems, and the BackOffice® family of products, including the Windows NT® operating system.
Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education Leads the Way
In June Microsoft announced that the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) was the first site to pilot the Academic Professional Development Center program. DTAE has been working with Microsoft since then to create a statewide initiative that will enable DTAE, which oversees the state’s system of technical institutes and associated colleges and a host of economic and work-force development programs, to provide in-service training to more than 100 faculty members in the first year, saving the state significant professional development dollars.
“Participating in the Microsoft Academic Professional Development Center program will enable us to create a systematic change in how our state’s technology professionals are trained and contribute to increasing the work force,”
said Debbie Dlugolenski, executive director of Georgia’s Academic Professional Development Center program.
“We wanted to build industry certification, in particular Microsoft certification, into our curriculum because that’s what business and industry are looking for when hiring IT staff. We also needed to get our own teachers trained and certified so they could go back to their schools and train students. The Academic Professional Development Center will help us do both.”
Supporting 33 technical institutes and 17 satellite centers throughout the state of Georgia, DTAE will begin the process of building Microsoft certification courses into its computer information systems programs this fall by training two faculty members from each technical institute, so AATP courses will be available at all of the institutes. Dlugolenski said DTAE chose to participate in the Academic Professional Development Center program so students will not only have the option of graduating with an associate’s degree, but the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certification after participating in Microsoft technology courses. Dlugolenski said several DTAE institutes have already had tremendous success with Microsoft’s AATP program. For example, after Northwestern Technical Institute in Rock Spring, Ga., began offering AATP courses, class enrollments filled to capacity and now have a one-year waiting list.
Colleges and universities participating in the Academic Professional Development Center program must be accredited not-for-profit institutions, have instructors who pass Microsoft Certified Professional exams in the area of course delivery, and offer affordable Microsoft training courses to the academic community. Those interested in the latest information about participation and certification can find it at http://www.microsoft.com/education/aatp/default.asp , send additional questions via e-mail to [email protected], or call (800) 508-8454.
Launched in 1995, the Microsoft AATP program has seen a more than 400 percent increase in the number of participating schools, now covering 48 states and nine Canadian provinces in North America and 48 countries worldwide. The AATP program provides tools, resources and curricula to help approved schools offer courses that equip students with highly sought-after information technology skills and prepare them for Microsoft Certified Professional exams.
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