September 15, 2009 By News Staff
Virginia will begin offering free technology training to displaced workers through Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft's Elevate America program. The program will distribute 11,250 vouchers for technology training and certification through the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), and will provide students with career resources to find internships and permanent jobs.
Virginia will receive 5,000 vouchers for online training, 5,000 vouchers for online testing, and 1,250 vouchers for more advanced level training. Each training voucher is redeemable for either a free class to improve general computer skills or training on one of the programs in the Microsoft Office Suite. Testing vouchers are redeemable for an assessment toward certification in a particular field, and advanced level vouchers apply to training for those on IT professional career tracks in areas, such as Web development or database management. "Today, more than ever, people are looking for an opportunity to gain new, portable skills and training that will help them in their careers or as they look for their next job," said VCCS Chancellor Dr. Glenn DuBois.
Virginia joins Washington, New York and Florida in participating in the Elevate America program, which Microsoft announced at the National Governor's Conference in February. The initiative is expected to provide up to 1 million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and certification exams at no or low cost to recipients.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.