Last month, Microsoft announced recipients of 13 scholarship awards from a global collection of countries as part of its Twenty Years of Learning and Certification extravaganza, which runs for all of 2012. Lutz Ziob, General Manager of MS Learning (abbreviated MSL) teamed his organization up with the Microsoft Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) organization to get behind awards to students from 13 different countries: Canada, China, Columbia, France, Germany, India, Latvia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
You can read all about this program and its beneficiaries in Microsoft’s DPE MSL Scholarship blog (and you can benefit from my legwork to understand that MSL means Microsoft Learning and DPE means Developer and Platform Evangelism organization, both of which acronyms had me initially scratching my head). The scholarship recipients in the various countries were chosen by a committee of representatives from DPE and MSL, and were selected based on a combination of need, circumstances, and ability from a pool of candidates nominated from global Gold Certified Learning Partners over a five week nomination period (most likely some time in 2011, based on the awards made). Reading over the stories about scholarship recipients from the various countries represented, you get a strong sense that all of these men and women overcame some serious adversity to find their way into Microsoft training and certification, and that their selection is going to have a major impact on their future lives and careers.
So what exactly did Microsoft contribute to grant these scholarships? I posed that question to Lorna White, who works for Microsoft Learning with the press and industry analysts. She informed me that every sponsoring Learning Partner received $5,000 to apply toward each winner’s formal course plan of training and certification elements, along with a $1,500 per-person hardware fund to purchase computing gear for every winner as well. The money came from Microsoft as a cash grant to help each winner achieve his or her training goals and objectives.
I think this is a great program, and have to applaud MS for the over $70K they put into funding it. Of course, it would be even better if more funding were available so that more deserving and financially disadvantaged students could benefit from their largesse. I’m sure that for every candidate chosen to win, there must have been numerous other equally deserving individuals who could also have used some help of this kind. Hopefully, this program will continue, and others will be able to partake of its support in the future.