Free computer training for 25 thousand Kentuckians

Source: Kentucky Governor's Office
Source: Kentucky Governor's Office

By Richard Todd email

Frankfort, KY (FOX19) - The Kentucky governor's office has released details of a program under which Microsoft will provide computer training to 25 thousand people in the commonwealth. 

First chances on the courses will go to the unemployed, with remaining courses available to everyone who lives in Kentucky.  The program was originally announced in December.

Here's is the release with details of the program:

Gov. Beshear unveils partnership with Microsoft to offer job training

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2010) – Gov. Steve Beshear today announced that the
Commonwealth will join forces with Microsoft in an innovative public-private partnership to provide free technology training to thousands of Kentuckians seeking new job skills and resources.

Through Microsoft® Elevate America, Kentucky will receive 20,250 vouchers for free online training and certification that will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. In an effort to develop marketable technology skills for those trying to re-establish their employment, Gov. Beshear has reserved the first distribution of vouchers for unemployed workers across the state.

"In this knowledge-based economy, computer skills are essential to the progression of any profession," said Gov. Beshear. "This initiative will not only assist job seekers who are looking to retool their skill sets to compete for higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs, but it will also ensure Kentucky's 21st century workforce continues to meet the needs of new and existing businesses."

Gov. Beshear made today's announcement at the Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort along with Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Acting Secretary Joseph U. Meyer, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) President Dr. Michael McCall and representatives from the Microsoft Corporation, Gail Thomas-Flynn, Vice President of State and Local Government and Siegfried Behrens, General Manager of U.S. Education.

"Elevate America was created to equip people with the crucial skills necessary to get a job in today's competitive workplace," said Microsoft's Thomas-Flynn "We believe that this type of public-private partnership will play an important role in rebuilding Kentucky and the nation's economy by offering immediate, no-cost access to the technology skills training and certifications that individuals need and employers are looking for."

Computer training ranges from basic skills, which do not require a voucher, to advanced classes that allow participants to earn Microsoft certification. Given the various levels of training available, residents can sign up for multiple courses; however, they can only sign up for one course at a time and must complete one before attempting to enroll in another.

Microsoft will work with Kentucky's Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, to distribute 9,000 vouchers for online training, 9,000 vouchers for online testing and 2,250 vouchers for more advanced training courses.

Each training voucher can be used on Microsoft Windows or one of the products in the Microsoft Office Suite. Each testing voucher can be used for a Microsoft business certification exam, which when passed signifies a student is Microsoft certified in either Windows Vista or a specific Microsoft Office product. Advanced level vouchers are redeemable for training individuals on technical professional career tracks in areas such as Web development or data management.

The Web-based program can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer. Those without computers or Internet access in their homes can visit their local One-Stop Career Center, Adult Education Center or public library to use the computer services available at those locations. Certification exams must be taken at a proctored Certiport location. KCTCS will provide these testing sites at 13 of its campuses across the state, at no charge to the participant.

Participants must be residents of Kentucky. Employees of Kentucky State Government are not eligible. Applicants under 18 years of age must provide parental consent to participate. Vouchers will be reserved for unemployed workers for the first two weeks of the program. Other registrant applications will be put into a pending status until after the two week period, at which point registration is open to any who are looking to update their skills. Vouchers will be distributed first in, first out. 

Kentucky's participation in Microsoft's Elevate America program makes it the twelfth state to take part in this groundbreaking initiative to prepare workers for the demands of a 21st century economy.

Microsoft announced the Elevate America program at the National Governor's Association winter conference in February 2009. The initiative is expected to provide up to one million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams at no cost or low cost to recipients. The program, part of Microsoft's overall Unlimited Potential efforts to improve social and economic opportunities for people, will provide technology training for up to two million people during the next three years.

For more information on how to obtain a voucher and to view a list of testing sites, visit the state's Web portal Kentuckians must claim their vouchers by April 27, 2010.

Participants with questions about the program can e-mail

Visit to learn more about Elevate America and other career assistance and training services available through Kentucky's workforce system.

To learn more about Microsoft's Elevate America national program, visit

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