Schwarzenegger unveils job training plan in Silicon Valley

Photo Credit: Justin Short, Office of the Governor
March 10, 2010 6:59:45 PM PST
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Silicon Valley Wednesday to unveil a partnership with Microsoft's Mountain View office to offer job training to Californians.

Kent Bunnell is out of work and just found out he's eligible for free online computer training that will give his resume a big boost.

"I'm unemployed and don't have the money to pay for that kind of school. If they offer it to us, it's a super bonus, it's great," he said.

The program is called Elevate America. Schwarzenegger officially launched it on Wednesday morning at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View. It's a partnership with Microsoft to improve the computer literacy skills of the unemployed.

"Microsoft is awarding our state with 166,500 training vouchers," Schwarzenegge rsaid.

The vouchers through Elevate America give people free access to Microsoft's e-learning programs ranging from Windows and the Office Suite to more advanced IT professional skills.

"This can be a road for many people to say you know what, I am going to retrain and I'm going to retool myself," Microsoft VP Dan'l Lewin said.

The vouchers will be divvied up to one-stop centers across the state and then distribute them on a first-come first-serve basis.

The administration says job creation is priority No. 1, but says public-private partnerships like Elevate America can make a difference.

"It's not just a voucher for training. It's a voucher for hope. It's a voucher for the future," California Labor and Workforce Secretary Victoria Bradshaw said.

Nova in Sunnyvale offers a number of workshops for job seekers, but the opportunity to get certified computer training is something Bunnell says is valuable in this job market.

"It's nice to have a certified document that says you've got it," he said.

California is the 13th state to take part in the Elevate America program. Microsoft says in the next three years it plans to offer two million vouchers nationwide.


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