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FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — Sept. 5, 2012 — The Georgia Department of Education announced today a collaboration with Microsoft Corp. to offer the Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) Program statewide to provide students with real-world technology skills to help them thrive in the 21st century economy.
By working together with Microsoft, Georgia’s 463 high schools will have access to classroom lab licensing, learning content, lesson plans, teacher resources, professional development and class projects annually. In addition, the 460,000 high school students in Georgia’s public schools can earn industry-recognized certifications on Microsoft programs that will help them pursue careers in business, technology, engineering, science and beyond.
“We are committed to giving Georgia students the skills they need to be ready for whatever they want to do after high school, whether it be college or a career,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “We want to produce a technology-savvy workforce by ensuring access to these resources in every high school across the state.”
The Microsoft IT Academy Program bridges the world of education and work. It is a comprehensive program that supports ongoing technology education for students, teachers and other education professionals spanning computer basics to high-level programming, along with information and communications technology management.
The IT Academy will be incorporated into several of the 17 career clusters under Georgia’s Career Pathways initiative, which will launch in fall 2013. Under the initiative, students will choose a career pathway in high school and will take classes tailored to what they want to do after graduation.
“The IT Academy will help build a pipeline of innovators in Georgia as the program helps students gain interest in STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and math, and spur ideas for how they can be applied in the real world,” said Cameron Evans, Chief Technology Officer for U.S. Education, Microsoft. “Students will be able to graduate high school with industry credentials that are globally recognized in the business world.”
The collaboration with Microsoft was announced at Fayette County High School on Wednesday. So far, about 200 high schools across the state have shown interest in implementing the Microsoft IT Academy program for students and teachers.
The program will provide a convenient and flexible learning environment where students can get hands-on experience with the latest technology to gain a competitive edge in today’s job market or the next step in their academics. More than half of jobs today require some technology skills, and experts predict that will increase to 77 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The program’s resources include online learning content, official Microsoft course materials and curriculum and instructor tools.
Georgia is the sixth state in the U.S. to broadly roll out the program, joining more than 13,000 Microsoft IT Academies in 160 countries across the globe.