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Microsoft offers certification to W.Va. students

Photo from The Exponent Telegram Margo Day
Photo from The Exponent Telegram
Margo Day

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — High school students in the Mountain State will be able to graduate with a technological edge thanks to a new collaboration between Microsoft and the West Virginia Department of Education, officials say.

The partnership was announced Tuesday during the Statewide Technology Conference in Morgantown.

The partnership will allow high school students to attain information technology certifications through Microsoft’s IT Academy, said Margo Day, Microsoft’s vice president of U.S. education.

“This really provides a way for students to tangibly become prepared for college or a career,” Day said.

Sterling Beane Jr. is the state Department of Education’s chief technology officer. He said high school students, teachers and staff will be able to obtain a number of certifications, including Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate and Microsoft Certified Professional.

The IT Academy will be implemented for the coming school year and is expected to grow over the next several years, Beane said.

“We’re offering this to students at no cost. Our number one goal in education is to prepare students for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Today’s job market requires computer proficiency, Day said. The IT Academy allows students to graduate with credentials proving their skills.

“There are 918 open jobs in West Virginia where the employer is looking for Microsoft certification skills. More broadly, across the United States, Microsoft Office is the number three most required skill. In the highest paying jobs, it’s number two,” she said….

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