Tuesday, November 12, the Office of the Secretary of State and its division, the Washington State Library, joined Microsoft in launching a joint adventure, the Washington State Library / Microsoft IT Academy with an event at the KCLS – Bellevue Library. This online technology training program will be offered in more than 385 Washington libraries, free of charge, thanks to funding by the Washington Legislature.
State Librarian Rand Simmons noted that the program furthered the state’s embrace of 21st Century technology. “It will help average people get family-wage jobs by attaining the technology skills they need.”
Secretary of State Kim Wyman said that through the partnership with Microsoft, “we have the ability to serve the people of Washington in an entirely new way by both enhancing learning and creating job opportunities.” Wyman requested the 2013 Legislature provide $1.5 million over the biennium for the State Library to purchase statewide online access to the IT Academy.
Washington residents through their local public, community and technical college, and tribal libraries can access 250 courses. Courses are offered on three basic levels: digital literacy, for those who need basic skills such as using a mouse or sending emails; e-learning courses that support Microsoft Office suites; and courses leading to professional technology certifications. Certification is available but at cost to the participant over the biennium for the State Library to purchase statewide online access to the IT Academy.
“It is a natural fit,” Simmons observed, “for this program to be offered through libraries. They have a long record of providing training to their communities. People are accustomed to turning to their libraries for assistance and vital information.”
“Libraries continue to innovate and evolve in exciting and helpful ways,” Simmons stated. “This is just one more piece of evidence that libraries continue to play vital roles within their communities.”
A second launch will be held on Wednesday, November 13, 10:30 a.m., at the Spokane Public Library. For more information, see this press release from Office of the Secretary of State.