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Press Release

Friday, June 29, 2012

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Offers World-Class Technology Academy to Middle and High School Students

- State first to expand program to middle schools -

Tallahassee, Fla., June 29, 2012 - Through a new and exciting partnership, Florida is the first state in the nation to offer the Microsoft IT Academy to middle school students. They will join high school students and teachers at 214 schools throughout the state to have access to the program designed to provide the real-world technology skills necessary to flourish in an increasingly global economy. Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson made the announcement today about the pilot program that includes industry-focused technical training and certification on Microsoft products, including business productivity tools, programming, web development, workplace collaboration software, and database development technologies. The Microsoft IT Academy program is being used in teaching and learning in more than 160 countries worldwide and throughout schools across the United States. The program can be integrated into multiple content areas in middle or high school classrooms making it an exceptionally versatile learning solution in a wide variety of academic settings.

"We know that the jobs of tomorrow will call for more advanced technology skills and I am thrilled that we can offer the Microsoft IT Academy program to our students and teachers," said Commissioner Robinson. "Our partnership with Microsoft will enable Florida students to keep pace with changing technology and expand their college and career opportunities after graduation."

The Microsoft IT Academy program is a college- and career-ready program designed to provide students with the 21st century technology skills necessary to earn Microsoft Certifications and be competitive in the globally evolving workplace. Students will have access to hundreds of web-based e-learning courses and receive hands-on experiences with the latest Microsoft software and programs, giving them an edge to gaining job-ready skills and industry credentials while still in school.

The program also provides educators with professional development opportunities to help them stay abreast of the latest Microsoft technologies and easily integrate these technologies into their existing curriculum and lesson plans to meet the individual learning needs of their students. Educators can also become a Microsoft Certified Trainer, allowing them to build on their own career success.

"The Microsoft IT Academy program makes education more relevant to students so they can move from learning to earning," said Sig Behrens, general manager for U.S. Education at Microsoft Corp. "Through this partnership, Florida public schools, teachers and students can now stay ahead of the curve with changing technology and curriculum demands. The program also gives students equal access to the IT skills and certifications they will need as they prepare for advanced studies and technical career paths, all of which provide a high earning potential."

For more information about the Microsoft IT Academy program, visit www.microsoftitacademy.com.