The Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS), in partnership with Microsoft Corp., today announced that HSPLS has become the first statewide public library system in the world to adopt Digital Literacy and Microsoft IT Academy programs for technology training and preparation for certifications for all library patrons in Hawaii. The Microsoft IT Academy Program is the first training program to launch under the HSPLS HI Tech Academy initiative and is expected to reach nearly 1 million people across the state of Hawaii.
Craig Mundie, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer; Donald Horner, chairman of the Hawaii State Board of Education; and Richard Burns, Hawaii State librarian, announced the kickoff of the Microsoft IT Academy in a news conference today at the Hawaii State Library.
The Microsoft IT Academy Program includes training and certification in Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint, in addition to advanced subjects such as programming, Web development and database development. The program’s digital literacy resources will equip Hawaii’s library patrons with the technical skills needed to become more employable and successful in the 21st-century workplace.
“For students and workers alike, technological literacy is essential to compete in today’s economy,” Mundie said. “Programs that help nurture 21st-century skills at scale will help prepare more people in Hawaii, in the U.S. and around the world to participate and succeed in the global workforce.”
The Microsoft IT Academy provides access to e-learning, certification preparation and official Microsoft course materials, which will help users qualify for and acquire industry-recognized Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate or Microsoft Certified Professional certifications.
Funding for the Microsoft IT Academy is provided by the federal Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The launch of the Microsoft IT Academy marks the first time the subscription-based program will be made available to Hawaii’s library users through in-library and remote access via Windows Internet Explorer. In Hawaii, hundreds of thousands of library cardholders will have free, unlimited access to more than 350 Microsoft courses, ranging from basic computer skills to advanced network architecture and design. The Microsoft IT Academy will provide many of the vocational and adult-education resources that have been reduced in Hawaii as a result of budget cuts.
“IT certifications are increasingly recognized as valuable credentials that give young people expanded career opportunities,” Horner said. “The Microsoft IT Academy ensures patrons equal access to IT training and certification through all libraries across the state, regardless of location or economic status.”
The Microsoft IT Academy will expand educational, workforce development and lifelong learning opportunities for all the people of Hawaii. The program will also help students, as library patrons, become college- and career-ready upon graduation from high school and will improve their abilities to compete in the rapidly evolving modern workplace.
“With the unveiling of the Microsoft IT Academy, we are excited that all our patrons — from keiki to kupuna — will be able to access technology training that has the potential to affect transformational change in Hawaii’s education and workforce landscape and is closely aligned with Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s New Day in Hawaii Plan’s Hawaii Broadband Initiative and his emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math education,” Burns said. “We enthusiastically encourage all our patrons to take full advantage of the Microsoft IT Academy — it will truly benefit everyone who participates.”
Access to the Microsoft IT Academy will be available through the HSPLS website, http://www.librarieshawaii.org. Library patrons with valid library cards can access the courses of their choice by following simple instructions. The courses are accessible at any time in all public libraries and remotely. The courses are self-paced and several sessions in length, and patrons can stop and resume their coursework at their convenience.
Patrons who decide to pursue Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate or Microsoft Certified Professional certifications will have the opportunity to take an exam at an official Microsoft Certification site. Access to the Microsoft IT Academy, a list of the certification sites and course curriculum are available on the library system’s website at http://www.librarieshawaii.org.