IT Academy Ignites 100,000 Success Stories in North Carolina As Part of Raleigh YouthSpark Connections Event

Sometimes, a program can only be described with two words – Huge Success.

In just three years, the first-ever Microsoft IT Academy in North Carolina has enabled 100,000 students and teachers to get certified in the Microsoft Office suite and prepare for their careers. And, best of all, the program is absolutely free.

The Microsoft IT Academy is part of a range of global programs that empower young people with access to technology and a better education. It consists of web-based modules and instruction to learn Microsoft computer programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access. Because technology skills are key to success in nearly any occupation today, the IT Academy provides the resources and expertise that young people need to realize their full potential.  

On Wednesday, the academy celebrated with a YouthSpark Connection event at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. YouthSpark is Microsoft’s global initiative that was launched in 2012 to create opportunities for 300 million youth over three years. Local dignitaries in attendance included State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson, State Senator Chad Barefoot and Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

The Brookings Institution presented research on the Youth Opportunity Divide leading into a spirited Q&A session about the importance of programs like YouthSpark to bridge the education gap and prepare students for employment success.

 Participants in the discussion included:

  • Sue Breckenridge, Office of the Governor, Executive Director, NC Business Committee for Education
  • Phil Emer, Director, Technology Planning & Policy, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, North Carolina State University
  • Cameron Evans, National & Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft US Education
  • Miranda Hill, 1st NC student title Winner of United States Champion in Word 2010
  • Nina Joseph, NC IT Academy Student & 2013 Bronze Medalist in Excel 2010

For more information on YouthSpark, click here. Also be sure to check out local coverage of the event here and here.