Seeing young people learning and achieving more in schools is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. This week, some wonderful news came from the schools in North Carolina, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.


Today, the state superintendent of North Carolina announced that North Carolina schools have achieved the significant milestone of more than 200,000 Microsoft certifications!


In the fall of 2010, Microsoft and the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction piloted the first-ever statewide Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) program in the United States. In the span of just five years, students and teachers in North Carolina have earned more than 200,000 professional certifications in Microsoft technologies. Today, State Superintendent June Atkinson joined State Board of Education members, teachers, students, legislators, and others in celebrating this milestone at the State Board of Education meeting in Raleigh. Eighteen North Carolina high school students who earned top honors in the 2015 NC Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) competition also were recognized.


As Dr. Atkinson noted, "Over the past five years, North Carolina’s Microsoft IT Academy has saved students and teachers more than $20 million in certification costs and enabled them to build valuable technology skills required by today’s employers. The Microsoft IT Academy is one example of how Career and Technical Education courses can enrich learning, shape career paths and change students’ lives."


The Microsoft IT Academy offers digital access to instructional curriculum and certifications that enable students to learn productivity applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access, as well as the fundamental skills necessary in the studies of Computer Science and IT Infrastructure. The state of North Carolina has shown great foresight and leadership by adopting ITA in high schools statewide to support their career and technical education agenda. In the end, it’s the students who benefit—as they have access to resources that help them prepare for success in college and their careers, and can master the technology skills that so many of today’s jobs require.


So today is a significant milestone to celebrate as North Carolina continues to prepare the next generation for technology-focused careers. Congratulations to all of the state officials, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students on a job well done! 


Microsoft IT Academy now has over 15,000 partner institutions worldwide in over 133 countries. For more information, visit