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News Release

News Release

RELEASE DATE: February 3, 2014

Contact: Pamela Nyberg Kiesner
BPL Director
(360) 778-7221

Christine Perkins
WCLS Executive Director
(360) 305-3600

Local Public and Academic Libraries Launch Microsoft IT Academy

Four local public and academic libraries announce the launch of the Microsoft IT Academy to bring free online technology training to Whatcom County residents. Microsoft IT Academy offers online courses in technology, including basic computer skills, Microsoft Word and Excel, and other popular Microsoft programs.

The Washington State Library and Microsoft partnered to provide the academy to residents statewide. Bellingham Public Library, Bellingham Technical College, Whatcom Community College, and Whatcom County Library System join public and academic libraries across the state featuring Microsoft classes cover software products like MS Word as well as Server certification. The public can connect to classes online, at home or at their preferred library, using starting on Monday, February 3.

"We are proud to be the first state to offer Microsoft IT Academy in both public schools and libraries statewide," said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. "Washingtonians can lead the way as entrepreneurs and innovators, and we need to ensure that they have the skills, training and credentials to seize the incredible opportunities in cutting edge IT industries."

Local libraries offering Microsoft IT Academy will have three levels of self-paced technology courses: basic digital literacy proficiencies, Microsoft Office training, and advanced skills for IT professionals. Participants can achieve certification following successful completion of a series of courses by testing at certification centers, or they may choose to complete selected courses without certification. Certification is at the participant's expense, while the courses are available without cost.

The total combined value of the IT Academy for all Washington library patrons is about $22 million per year, based on what libraries would need to pay if purchasing all of the IT Academy benefits on a per library basis. Microsoft provided the academy to the state at a 90% discount. The Washington State Legislature paid the remaining cost of $1.5 million dollars which funds the academy through June 2015.

For more information or to get started with the Microsoft IT Academy, please visit or stop by your local library.


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