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January 25, 2019

Montpelier, Vt.— Governor Phil Scott today announced the state’s plans to enter an alliance with Microsoft to improve access to digital skills programing and computer science education and to promote rural broadband access, with the organizational support of Microsoft technology experts and partners.

“We are grateful for Microsoft’s partnership as we work to overcome broadband gaps in rural Vermont and provide more equitable and accessible opportunities for all Vermonters,” said Governor Scott. “This new alliance will help equip students and adults with the digital skills needed for high-wage careers, bolstering our workforce with skilled-workers and innovative entrepreneurs to help Vermonters thrive in today’s economy.”

Microsoft will work with Vermont in supporting kids and families in rural communities enhance their digital skills and to help expand broadband access in Vermont through its Microsoft Airband initiative. To advance the state’s work to expand broadband access and digital education and training, Microsoft will work with RTO Wireless, as well as other local partners, to bring broadband to Vermont’s businesses, farmers, healthcare providers, schools and local communities.

“In a world being transformed by technology, we know young people have a better chance to succeed in the 21st century economy when they gain computer science and digital skills. Microsoft is proud to partner with Vermont to help expand access to broadband in rural areas, support computer science education in classrooms and improve digital skills, and we thank Governor Scott for his leadership,” said Fred Humphries, corporate vice president of U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft.

In collaboration with the state, Microsoft will build a coalition of stakeholders across the education, tech and business sectors who will work to support computer science education and workforce development initiatives in Vermont.

The alliance will also allow Microsoft to collaborate with local partners to bring digital skills training to newly-connected rural communities.

Specifically, the partnership will offer Vermonters an array of Microsoft programs to improve digital skills and computer science education, including:

  • YouthSpark, which provides increased access to technology education and job skills training for young people, focusing on computer science, especially among underserved youth, young women, and racial and ethnic minorities.
  • YouthSpark in Schools, a dynamic day of professional learning for Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers, classroom teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects, school and district technology officers and administrators, youth-focused non-government organizations and others from Vermont school districts.
  • DigiGirlz, which gives middle and high school girls opportunities to learn about technology careers, connect with STEM industry professionals and Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer science workshops.
  • DigiCamps, a series of sessions for youth to provide the same experience of developing and learning about cutting-edge technologies as DigiGirlz but including both girls and boys.
  • Imagine Academy, which gives students and educators the necessary curricula and certifications to succeed in a tech-driven economy.

Microsoft has 15 active digital alliances with state and local governments across the nation, increasing access to Microsoft programs that support citizens and expanding local economies through increased digital literacy, computer science education and workforce development.

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