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  • Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gregoire announces job training partnership with Microsoft

For Immediate Release: April 13, 2009

SEATTLE – Gov. Chris Gregoire today joined Microsoft Senior Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith at the downtown Seattle WorkSource facility to applaud the public-private partnership program “Microsoft Elevate America.” This innovative public-private venture will provide 30,000 vouchers to WorkSource training centers for free technology training for workers to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.

“This is an example of what we need to emerge stronger from this recession,” Gregoire said. “When this downturn ends, we will need more skilled workers ready to enter the job market. Microsoft’s generosity will provide thousands of men and women the skills they need to work with the software that runs our businesses. This will help strengthen our economy and increase our state’s global competitiveness.”

Microsoft Vice President Pamela Passman announced the “Microsoft Elevate America” program at the National Governor’s Conference in February. The initiative will provide up to 1 million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams at no or low cost to recipients. The program is designed to provide technology training for up to 2 million people during the next three years.

“This program is all about equipping people with the new skills they’ll need to get a job in the changing economy,” said Smith. “We believe this type of public-private partnership can play an important role in helping to rebuild the nation’s economy.”

In Washington, Microsoft has partnered with the state’s Employment Security Department and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County to distribute a total of 30,625 training vouchers statewide during the next 90 days. Courses range from basic technology literacy to intermediate-level technology skills. “Elevate America” also provides students with career resources to find internships and permanent jobs.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to advance my customer service skills,” said Joy Waynewood, who was recently laid off and will soon participate in the “Microsoft Elevate America” program. “After a 20 year career in customer service, I have witnessed how technology has not only changed the way I live, but the way I work. I know I need advanced technology skills to continue to be successful in this field, and look forward to seeing which doors open for me after I complete the program’s courses.”

Vouchers are available at WorkSource career centers across Washington. Office locations and additional information about obtaining the vouchers are posted online at:

Voucher recipients will be required to register with WorkSource.

To learn more about the Elevate America program, visit:

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