State of Michigan and Microsoft Team Up to Prepare Students For 21st Century Work Force

REDMOND, Wash., and DETROIT, Aug. 30, 2004 —
Today’s work force requires workers to think strategically, analyze information, collaborate using 21st-century tools and apply knowledge to new situations.This morning, in Detroit, Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and Microsoft Corp. announced that they have established a relationship to work together to help improve instructional relevance and so enhance the 21st-century skills of Michigan students.

As part of Microsoft’s U.S. Partners in Learning, Michigan and Microsoft will expand and support existing educational resources over the next five years while researching and implementing new assets that can be replicated in the state of Michigan and beyond. These efforts are intended to improve student achievement while increasing young people’s awareness of career and work force opportunities.

“By working with Microsoft we can discover new and innovative ways to support our phenomenal teachers and help prepare students for the 21st-century work force,” Granholm said. “Our schools are being held accountable to high academic standards, and we want to help them achieve those standards.”

Through Partners in Learning, Microsoft will invest up to $4 million over the next five years on collaborative projects aimed at addressing student achievement and developing a more competitive 21st-century work force. The first two projects are targeted to reach Michigan classrooms by 2005. One is the creation of guides, tools and resources to help teachers meet the requirements in math and reading of the No Child Left Behind act. Another is the expansion of the MyDreamExplorer Web site, which will draw connections between curricula and careers to help students understand the relevance of their work in the classroom and realize their opportunities.

“The state of Michigan and Gov. Granholm are committed to a long-term vision of technology in education and developing a 21st-century work force,” said Linda Zecher, vice president of the U.S. Public Sector Group at Microsoft. “Microsoft shares that vision, and through our long-term Partners in Learning commitment, we believe we can help make that vision a reality that serves as a role model for all states.”

To ensure the success of the relationship and its considerable goals, a Partners in Learning Executive Committee has been formed to oversee the projects. The committee comprises representatives from the Office of the Governor, the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, Michigan Virtual University, and Microsoft.

A component of all Microsoft Partners in Learning agreements is the requirement that a third-party research organization track and monitor the results of the projects.

Partners in Learning seeks to address the digital inclusion issues facing education today by facilitating access to technology and training. Microsoft recognizes the need for students, teachers and administrators to not only master the technical skills needed to use technology successfully, but also to understand how technology can be integrated throughout the academic environment to help make teaching and learning more rewarding for teachers and students.

This is the third significant announcement regarding U.S. Partners in Learning. The first was the launch of the initiative and state of Washington partnership in May 2004. Next was the online assessment tool co-developed with the International Society for Technology in Education at the National Educational Computing Conference in June 2004.

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