Rock the vote! Today, Microsoft announced the 2011 U.S. Imagine Cup finalists, some of whom will go on to represent the United States in the global competition in July in New York City. These stellar students created innovative, tech-based solutions to solve global problems while learning valuable skills to prepare them as future IT leaders.

Why is this so important? By 2014, it is estimated that one million new jobs in science and technology related fields will be added to the workforce. However, at the current pace in the U.S., only 50 percent of those jobs will be filled with qualified U.S. graduates. The Imagine Cup is designed to support and inspire studies in these critical fields.

A great way to do your part and support these teams, such as team Texting Toward Healthier Villages (TTHV) which has members from Harvard, is to vote in the U.S. People’s Choice Awards, starting today. You can vote for your favorite inventions in the Game Design and Software Design categories via Facebook or via text message. You can also read about all of the U.S. finalists on the Microsoft Tech Student page on Facebook.

Voting is open through April 9, and you are allowed one vote per day until the competition closes. Please spread the word and encourage your networks to rally behind the future of technology! There will be special awards to the Software Design project and the Game Design project that gain the most Facebook votes which will be given out at the U.S. finals, April 8-11 in Redmond.