SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced that California will join forces with Microsoft to provide free technology training to thousands of Californians. Through Elevate America, Microsoft’s innovative program to enhance the technical job skills of individuals across the country, California will receive 166,500 vouchers to distribute to Californians for free, online technology training and certification in Microsoft programs.

“Creating jobs and boosting California’s economy is my number one priority, and that is why I am so excited about this new public-private partnership with Microsoft. These free training vouchers will enhance the technology skills of thousands of Californians and make them more competitive in the job market,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “It is so great to see a private company like Microsoft jumping into action to help people get jobs, and I urge the legislature to follow their example and pass my California Jobs Initiative. I introduced this job-creating proposal over two months ago, and each day the legislature fails to act is another day a California family struggles.”

California will receive three types of vouchers from Microsoft: General e-Learning Vouchers, which are redeemable for free, online training on one Microsoft Windows Vista or Microsoft Office Suite program; IT Professional Learning Vouchers, which are intended for customers who are IT professionals interested in acquiring advanced level skills in areas such as web development or database management; and, Microsoft Certification Exam Vouchers, which are designed to enable a user to pursue a no-cost exam to become certified in one Microsoft program, such as Excel, Word or Outlook.

The vouchers California will receive will be distributed through the state’s Employment Development Department through local One-Stop Career Centers within the 49 local workforce investment areas. More: .

Microsoft’s Elevate America, which is part of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, was launched in February 2009 and expects to provide up to 1 million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams. Since its launch, more than 475,000 vouchers have been distributed to 13 states across the county, including California. Microsoft’s goal is to provide technology training for up to 2 million people during the next three years. To read more about Elevate America, click here – .