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Many U.S. States Have IT Academy Partnerships

North Carolina recently announced the striking success of its statewide Microsoft IT Academy program, generic sale begun in 2010. Ed Tittel wonders: How many other states are similarly engaged?

Students learn using computers from happy teacherThe Microsoft IT Academy program has been active and involved in providing low-cost access to software (plus training materials) and certification exams to the education community for more than a decade. Consequently, it’s taken wide root in high schools, community colleges, and universities all over the United State. The program embraces the Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) programs, as well as more advanced elements from the MCSA, MCSE and MCSD lineups as well.


When I saw in a recent GoCertify Certification Watch newsletter (the one for June 10) an item recounting how students and faculty in the great and sovereign state of North Carolina have earned more than 200,000 Microsoft certifications since 2010 — and saved at least $20 million in related certification costs — I found myself wondering just how many other states have made blanket arrangements with Microsoft.


My first step was to contact Carrie Francey, author of the original Born to Learn blog post on this subject. Francey turned me over to Veronica Sopher, the public relations maven for Microsoft Learning, who’s helped me with lots of information requests in the past. As usual, Veronica came through in style with a lengthy list of the 18 states (that's right — 18) that have “state level ITA programs.” (ITA, of course, is the internal Microsoft abbreviation IT Academy.) Here is that list, in all its glory:


 ●  Alabama Department of Education
 ●  Arizona Department of Education
 ●  Arkansas Department of Career Education
 ●  Florida Association for Career and Technical Education
 ●  Georgia Department of Education
 ●  Hawaii State Public Library System
 ●  Indiana Department of Education
 ●  Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council
 ●  Kansas Board of Regents
 ●  University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Picard Center for Child Development
 ●  Michigan Department of Education
 ●  North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (This is the program that recently celebrated 200,000 certifications.)
 ●  North Carolina Community College System
 ●  Nebraska Department of Education
 ●  Utah State Office of Education
 ●  Virginia Department of Education
 ●  Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
 ●  Secretary of State / State Library
 ●  West Virginia Department Of Education
 ●  West Virginia Higher Education Policy Committee (HE)



Keen and careful eyes will note that this list includes 20 entries, but I mention only 18 states. That’s because West Virginia appears twice, and I can’t tell what state is associated with the entry that reads “Secretary of State / State Library.” (Though from the ASCII sequence of state names in the list, it has to be either Washington or West Virginia. I suspect the former is likely, because of Microsoft’s home base in that state.)


I am glad to see the number represents just over a third of all U.S. states, and would be even happier to see that number embrace a majority of those governmental units. There’s no doubt that this is not only a case of “the more, the merrier,” but also an important step toward recognizing the importance of IT in developing future generations of workers, and in upskilling or reskilling current members of the U.S. workforce.


I’d also be remiss if I didn’t observe that the Microsoft IT Academy is as active outside U.S. borders as it is within them, and hope to follow up with another post on the total number of participating countries around the globe, and some sense of the program’s presence or penetration within those sovereign states as well. Stay tuned!




ed-tittel120Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, best known as developer of "Exam Cram" IT cert prep book series. Ed blogs on certification topics for TechTarget, Tom’s IT Pro, and, or you can check out his website at