Last Friday, I followed up on my December 16 blog entitled “Interesting doings at the Microsoft IT Academy; More lie ahead!” with Microsoft Learning General Manager Lutz Ziob and Jeff Johnson, North American Academic Area Lead, to learn more about the company’s IT Academy program. For those not already in the know, the IT Academy makes Microsoft technology, software, and certification materials available to high schools and post-secondary education outlets (mostly two- and four-year colleges, but also technical schools, job (re) training programs, and so forth, as well) so they can prepare students to be more productivie and capable when they enter the workforce.
My earlier blogs on this program have focused on offerings from the State of North Carolina, where the IT Academy is now at least available to all its high schools, and actually on offer in the vast majority of those institutions. This time around, I got to learn more about some of the other significant adoptions of this program, both inside and outside the US.
Here are some high points from that discussion, about which I plan to follow up in the weeks and months ahead:
- The State of Georgia has adopted the ITA into its entire community college system. Today, its two-year networking degrees can include MCTS credentials on Windows Server 2008, or even (optionally) the MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008. The state has also racked up some notable success in placing students in jobs thanks to ITA, particularly at the rural Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, where students have landed in big metro areas such as Atlanta, Savannah, and Augusta.
- Microsoft has made inroads with the American Council of Education in its efforts to establish that passing certification exams can stand in for credit hours in programs where outside experience for certifications related to Windows Server, Exchange Server, and SQL Server are appropriate. This not only lets students save time and money when completing their degrees, it also offers a “double-whammy” on earning IT certifications while still in college (good for the degree, good for post graduation employment prospects).
- The State University of New York (SUNY) system has not only adopted the ITA for its various campuses around the state, it’s also created off-campus locations in low-income and high-risk neighborhoods to reach out to disadvantaged or unemployed adolescents and young people. Such programs enable individuals to complete a GED while also earning Microsoft certifications at the same time, greatly enhancing their employability and raising their life expectancies and lifetime earnings prospects.
- While ITA numbers in the US currently stand around 2,000, total global numbers are around 8,000, with strong penetration in India, China, and Nigeria, as various levels of government seeks to bring IT technology and learning benefits to bear on improving their workforces, and opening up first-world employment opportunities to their populations.
In future blogs, I’ll not only provide more information about the specific programs mentioned above, I also plan to dig more deeply into ITA doings and plans outside North America, particularly as regards the three countries specifically mentioned above in the final bullet list item. Stay tuned!