Offering highly accessible digital workforce education was a key part of the Vermont Digital Economy Project. Project partner Microsoft delivered the cutting-edge Microsoft IT Academy Program ® (ITA) to provide free online digital workforce education through selected Vermont institutions and libraries.
The Microsoft ITA prepares students and educators to succeed by providing access to the latest Microsoft software, training, and certification. As part of the project, Microsoft contributed three ITA licenses at a highly discounted rate, including associated software, courseware, and other materials and services, for three years each. The value of each annual license and the supporting materials was more than $50,000. This generous donation was a significant portion of the matching funds contributed to the project.
The Microsoft ITA was leveraged to enhance community capacity to provide essential services assistance to displaced workers. The online courses build technology skills at all levels and can also lead to highly marketable certification programs. For example, Microsoft skills from basic to advanced can help overcome computer skill barriers to job qualification.
Project partners the Department of Public Libraries and the Vermont State Colleges supported this effort by helping libraries and institutions to provide equipment and educational materials, and through professional development for staff.