New Microsoft Work Force Development Program Expands Career Opportunities and IT Training for Students and Faculty

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 14, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today introduced the Microsoft® IT Academy Program, an innovative training program for academic institutions that gives them the tools to prepare students for in-demand careers as network administrators, technical support specialists, software and hardware developers, and design engineers.

The IT Academy Program is geared toward both higher-education institutions — four-year and two-year colleges and vocational schools — and high schools, and was developed to address the need for these institutions to enhance their information technology curriculum with the advanced technologies of today’s workplace. The new program facilitates training on Microsoft networking and developer technologies through new program enhancements and resources, including faculty training and technical support.

“Hiring managers report an anticipated shortfall of 425,000 IT workers to fill their open positions this year,*”
said Diana Carew, program manager of Workforce Development and Community College Relations for the Education Solutions Group at Microsoft.
“Academic institutions are increasingly working to help fill this gap through their technical training programs. The Microsoft IT Academy Program is aimed squarely at helping schools in their mission to deliver high-quality training to students seeking degrees or otherwise continuing their education.”

A leader in the field of IT training and development agrees that training for both faculty and students is important.
“I see great value and opportunity realized in faculty training, technical support and Microsoft TechNet (Microsoft’s free technical support service) through the Microsoft IT Academy Program,”
said Gordon Snyder, executive director of the Northeast Center for Telecommunications Technologies in Massachusetts.

Increased Skills and Learning for Students and Faculty

Before making hiring decisions, many employers look for candidates who have IT certification that attests to their competency. Microsoft understands this, and utilized feedback from advisory councils, focus groups, work force development organizations and academic institutions to create the Microsoft IT Academy Program, which offers a robust package of educational opportunities for students, teachers and academy member institutions. The Microsoft IT Academy Program will officially
“open its doors”
in November 2001 and will offer the following benefits:

  • Online or instructor-led training for faculty members at regional centers

  • Microsoft product licenses

  • Academic discounts on curriculum materials and certification exams

  • Technical support

  • Program management resources and tools

  • An online community and seminars

  • Student portal

  • Monthly newsletters

Students and faculty will have access to the Microsoft Official Curriculum, new product releases, such as the Windows® XP operating system, and the latest Microsoft technologies, such as Microsoft .NET technologies and the Microsoft Visual C++® development system, to help students stay ahead of the industry curve and prepare them for the challenging Microsoft certification exams.

Access to Latest Technology and Creation of Community Impacts Students

The School of Business and Medical Careers at Pennsylvania’s Institute of Computer Management (ICM) has participated in a Microsoft training program for IT students since 1996. Since then, job placement rates have shown continued improvement with an increasing number of students securing employment upon completion of the program. ICM IT Program Director Hunter Hopkins believes that new Microsoft IT Academy Program participants will have even better job prospects as a result of training on the latest software.

“The Microsoft IT Academy Program integrates a sense of community among IT instructors and students,”
Hopkins said.
“And that is something worth investing in.”

Microsoft IT Academy Program Availability

Beginning in November, interested schools and institutions in the United States and Canada** may sign up to participate in the Microsoft IT Academy Program online at . The program is open to all accredited academic high schools (grades nine to 12) and higher-education (two-year and four-year) institutions. Full program details and requirements may be found at the Microsoft IT Academy Program Web site.

Working with educators, administrators and industry partners, Microsoft helps schools and campuses build Connected Learning Communities — modern learning infrastructures that integrate technology into classroom instruction and school administration, and provide students, educators, administrators and parents with anytime, anyplace access to learning. More information on the wide spectrum of Microsoft education programs, resources and products for learning can be found at .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

“When Can You Start?”
— Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), April 2001

** The Microsoft IT Academy Program is a pilot program in Canada and will not be available in Quebec until fall 2002.

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