Microsoft looks to 'Elevate' California

The software maker is bringing its free technology job training program to the Golden State, the company and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are announcing on Wednesday.

Microsoft's year-old Elevate America program, which offers free technology training and certification, is coming to California.

The program was announced by Microsoft a year ago as the country was gripped by recession, with Washington state as the first government partner. Since then, other states have slowly been coming on board.

Seven states have already distributed training vouchers, while five are still in the process of issuing the vouchers, according to a map on Microsoft's Web site. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to detail California's participation in a Webcast due to begin at 10:15 a.m. PST.

A second component, offering Web-based tips on things like creating a resume or sending e-mail, has been up and running for all Americans since the program began.

Update 10:25 a.m. PST: At a press conference at Microsoft's Silicon Valley office in Mountain View, Calif., Schwarzenegger said that Microsoft has awarded 166,500 vouchers that will be good for technology training. The tech training will be helpful, he said, as the state grapples with 12.5 percent unemployment.

"We want to put people to work," he said. "So many people lost jobs in this economic downturn."

He then launched into a tirade on legislators in Sacramento for not doing enough to create jobs. "People deserve the security of a paycheck."

Schwarzenegger also praised another Microsoft program, the Elevate America veterans' program, which Microsoft announced earlier this week.

Update 10:30 a.m. PST: "Microsoft believes that technology can be an incredible catalyst for economic growth," Corporate Vice President Dan'l Lewin said, speaking after Schwarzenegger.

But Lewin also added that technology alone isn't enough, nor can either government or the private sector solve economic issues alone. "This requires effective public-private partnerships."

Microsoft's overall goal with Elevate America, Lewin said, remains to offer technology training to more than 2 million people over the life of the program.

Update 10:33 a.m. PST: The Webcast has ended.

 

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