FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/18/2009

Robert Reed (o. 312-814-3158; c. 312-203-5722)
Ashley Cross (o. 312-814-3158; c. 312-590-7811)

 Governor Quinn, Microsoft CEO Launch Public-Private Partnership

Elevate America to provide free technology training for up to 51,000 Illinoisans

CHICAGO � Governor Pat Quinn today joined Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Chicagoland Chamber�s Annual Meeting to announce a major public-private partnership between Microsoft and the State of Illinois to provide free technology training for up to 51,000 Illinoisans, starting July 31.

�This is a great opportunity for Illinoisans looking to improve their skill set,� said Governor Quinn.  �Whether you are out of a job or the technological revolution has simply passed you by, taking advantage of these free vouchers is one way to get back on board as our economy moves forward.�

The Microsoft Elevate America initiative will provide up to 1 million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and select certification exams. The program is part of Microsoft�s overall efforts to provide technology training for at least 2 million people during the next three years.

�Microsoft is committed to improving access to the education and workforce readiness skills required for 21st century jobs,� said Ballmer. �We believe these types of public-private partnerships are key to helping rebuild the nation�s economy and getting people back to work.�

In Illinois, Microsoft is working with the state�s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and its partners to distribute 51,000 vouchers starting July 31. Online courses available using Elevate America vouchers include intermediate level Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Office 2007 training, and advanced-level training for technical professionals.

From August through October, eligible Illinoisans can apply for a voucher through one of the following workforce networks:

� Illinois workNet Centers, including Mayor Daley�s WorkNet System
� Digital Inclusion Community Technology Centers, including the Illinois and City of Chicago Digital Excellence Network and affiliated non-profit agencies
� High School Career and Technical Education programs approved by the Illinois State Board of Education
� Illinois Community College Career and Technical Education Network
� Illinois Community College Board Adult Education Network

Voucher recipients will be required to register with Illinois workNet, an online one-stop-shop that provides access to worker resources at www.illinoisworknet.com. To learn more about Elevate America, visit: www.microsoft.com/elevateamerica.