Washington State Library Microsoft IT Academy
Through a partnership with Microsoft, the Washington State Library (WSL), a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, received funding from the legislature to offer the Microsoft IT Academy to community and technical college libraries, public libraries, and tribal libraries at no cost during the current biennium (July 2013 through June 2015). Funds from the legislature pay for the non-discounted portion and Microsoft has discounted the remaining cost of these courses by approximately 90%. Funding from the legislature will also cover the cost for the Washington State Library to partner with both libraries and Microsoft in the project.
Interactive map of participants
The Washington State Library Microsoft IT Academy provides the people of Washington free access to over 400 English-language online courses and learning resources through their local public, community college, or tribal libraries; thousands more courses are available in 20 languages.
To gain access to the IT Academy and begin taking online classes, find and click on your library's name on the 'WSL Microsoft IT Academy Participating Libraries' page. When possible we have provided a link to the library's IT Academy information page; many libraries allow direct access to the IT Academy through their website, others may require that you visit the library in person.
The IT Academy will also be available through the Washington State Library institutional branches. It is currently available through school districts, a project administered by the Office of Public Instruction. Microsoft certification is also available; fees for certification exams are the responsibility of the individual seeking certification.
The ubiquity of libraries throughout the state, estimated at 472 outlets, and the recognized nature of libraries to connect to their communities to improve the lives of citizens, makes them an ideal conduit for this program. The Washington State Library, as a leader and facilitator among the library community with decades of experience in managing statewide projects, is a natural fit to lead and coordinate this effort.
- In addition to offering the Microsoft IT Academy online courses to their community, each participating location may access up to 50 licenses for a current version of Microsoft Office (MS Office 2010 or MS Office 2013), to be installed on computers used by the public. If participating libraries cannot use all 50 licenses on their library computers, licenses may be shared with other branches which have more than 50 computers and/or between libraries. Please contact the IT Academy Project Manager for more information on this benefit.
- The Washington State Library's IT Academy Project Manager works closely with Microsoft's IT Academy staff to implement and support the program at the state and local level. The Project Manager helps link libraries to resources, answer basic questions, refer library staff to IT Academy staff when needed, increase visibility of the program and benefits to the public and special populations at the state and local level, and troubleshoot if things aren't working as expected.
From the Microsoft IT Academy Website:
Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) program provides industry-leading technology skills to help bridge the skills gap. With Microsoft IT Academy institutions get digital curriculum and certifications on fundamental technology skills—as well as courses critical for students to be successful in today's technologically evolving world—all at significantly reduced pricing for academic institutions and their educators, students, and staff.
- For Educators and staff: Professional development, a full curriculum for teaching technology courses, and learning tools.
- For Students: Technology skills and certifications to be college and career ready for today's technology-centered job market.
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Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).