Wednesday, February 3, 2010

OCTC Microsoft offer Free Computer Training

Kentucky residents -- especially unemployed workers -- seeking to boost their employability can get free, online technology training and certification through Owensboro Community & Technical College's participation in Microsoft's Elevate America Program.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is working with Microsoft and the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to get the training vouchers into the hands of out-of-work residents and those who want to upgrade their job skills.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced the public-private, tech training partnership Wednesday.

Unemployed residents have priority for the free online vouchers until Feb. 10, according to Kim Brannock, spokesperson for the Office of Employment and Training in the education and workforce development cabinet.



However, anyone who wants to upgrade their skills to get a job can apply for the training at any time. Their applications will be held until after Feb. 10, Brannock said.

Government workers are ineligible.

Workforce Solutions at OCTC's downtown campus is partnering with the Office of Employment and Training to provide the vouchers/training locally.

Kentucky is getting 20,250 of the 1 million eLearning vouchers Microsoft is providing nationwide. They must be claimed by April 27.

"No college has a certain number of vouchers," said Jenny Mason, coordinator of assessment services in Workforce Solutions at OCTC. "It depends on who signs up. We don't know what the volume will be."

KCTCS's system office will track the volume with colleges distributing the vouchers on a first come, first served basis.


OCTC was still learning the details Monday, Mason said.

"Technology is in every job today," Mason said. "Those who take the training can earn a nationally recognized certificate which will be good for a résumé."

The free computer training ranges from basic skills to advanced classes leading to certification. No voucher is required for the basic skills.

Residents may sign up for various levels of tech training, but they can only take one course at a time and must complete one before enrolling in another.

Statewide, the OET will distribute 9,000 vouchers for online training, 9,000 for online testing and 2,250 for more advanced training courses.

The eLearning vouchers provide 12 months access to specific courses such as Windows XP, Office 2003, Vista or Office 2007.

A limited number of technical training and business certification vouchers also will be available statewide.

Joy Campbell, 691-7299, jcampbell@messenger-inquirer.com

For Free Tech Training

* To sign up for free, online, Microsoft training, call Linda Main at OCTC's Workforce Solutions, 686-4455.

* For more information and to view a list of Microsoft testing sites, visit www.kyelevateamerica.ky.gov.

* Questions about the program may be sent by e-mail to elevateamerica@ky.gov.

* To learn more about Microsoft's Elevate America national program, visit www.microsoft.com/elevateamerica.