Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Microsoft offers free computer training

Date: 4/6/2010

April 7, 2010.

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- For Irvinia Scott of Agawam the announcement the state will be receiving 26,000 vouchers for an online software training program provided by Microsoft was welcomed news.

Scott, educated as a social worker, said, "It's time for a change [in her career]" and the Microsoft program will update her computer skills.

Scott was one of the members of a jobs club at Futureworks on Wednesday to participating in a press event announcing the new program broadcast throughout the state through on-line conferencing.

Gov. Deval Patrick joined Microsoft Vice President of State and Local Government Gail Thomas Flynn at the JobNet Career Center in Boston to kick off Elevate America, a partnership between the Commonwealth and Microsoft.

Kevin Lynn of Futureworks explained the vouchers for the online courses would be available on a first-come, first-served basis. People must be a member of a jobs center such as Futureworks or Careerpoint to be eligible for the vouchers and training, Lynn added.

The program will offer 13,000 vouchers for e-learning courses in Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook); 5,000 IT Professional and Developer level e-learning courses; 3,000 Microsoft Office 2003 Certifications Exams; and 5,000 Microsoft Office 2007 Certifications Exams.

Flynn noted the Department of Labor has said 75 percent of the jobs in this could require some level of digital proficiency and that technology is an "enabler" for economic development.

The vouchers must be activated before June 29 and online learning courses are available for a year after activation. Certification exams must be completed before June 29 at a participating testing location. Information on how to obtain a training or certification exam voucher is available online at or call 1-888-578-6599

"This public-private partnership is exactly the kind of innovative program we need to help our workforce advance," Patrick said. "Massachusetts residents will benefit from the opportunity to strengthen their computer skills as we continue lead the way in businesses that rely heavily upon technology."