We are excited to announce that Alabama is the seventh state to officially launch a statewide Microsoft IT Academy Program that will be available to more than 218,000 students in about 570 high schools and career and technology centers. The Microsoft IT Academy program is a career and technology education program designed to ensure students are college and career ready upon graduation.  Students can earn industry-recognized certifications on Microsoft programs that will help them pursue careers in business, technology, engineering, science and beyond.

The Alabama Board of Education goals are to ensure that every student have safe and disciplined schools, quality teachers, challenging curricula, effective school leaders and be prepared for college, work, adulthood in the 21st century.  Microsoft believes in this vision and that a statewide IT Academy solution can be specifically designed to help drive employability in Alabama, digital literacy, technical and STEM-focused training. The IT Academy program delivers the very latest IT curriculum for students and ongoing professional development for Alabama teachers.  The program provides a complete IT education solution that bridges the world of education with the fast-changing world of work. In addition to boosting workforce readiness, the program also helps drive academic transition and pre- college preparation for students eager to pursue higher education with a focus on advanced technology and STEM- related subjects.

Employers expect and demand skilled IT workers and IT job-ready hires that can succeed in the dynamic tech savvy international marketplace. In order to be productive members of the workforce and society, it is imperative that students not only graduate from high school, but also graduate with real-world technology skills and validated credentials. There are more than 2,000 jobs available today in the state of Alabama that require Microsoft software skills. These are unfilled jobs. The pool of available talent is not as deep as employers would like to see. And from an employer’s perspective, top benefits of IT certifications are validation that a person has the ability to understand new or complex technologies, is more productive and a better problem solver.

To date, there are more than 13,000 IT Academy members in more than 160 countries. Congratulations, Alabama!