Under the Dome

Microsoft deal with NC schools deemed success, extended

More than 100,000 high school students and teachers have earned professional certification for their mastery of Microsoft computer programs about three years after the state introduced the company’s IT school curriculum statewide.

The agreement with Microsoft grew from state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson’s interest in career and technical education. When the $800,000, three-year contract was announced in 2010, Microsoft executives and state officials said the courses helped prepare students for college and careers.

The state Department of Public Instruction does not yet have information on what credential holders did after graduation, but said more career and technical education students earn Microsoft Office Specialist certification than any other professional or trade credential. About 98,000 students have earned certificates, according to the department.

The deal with Microsoft has been extended five years, and now includes community colleges, Atkinson said.

“It’s been great for students to get a credential that means something in the business world,” Atkinson said.