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OWCC Teams with Microsoft to Deliver Premium Technology Training


In an ongoing effort to meet the technology workforce demands of the community, Okaloosa-Walton Community College has teamed with Microsoft to be an official Microsoft® IT Academy Program site.

OWCC will provide leading edge Microsoft certification training with coursework beginning in Fall term for both a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) track. Coursework in either area also provides Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification.

"The strengths of the new program are the partnership with Microsoft, the extensive hands-on training, and the low tuition OWCC is able to offer as a public community college," said Ginger Maddox, OWCC computer engineering faculty member and lead instructor for the courses. "OWCC tuition, fees and books for the entire MCSE series of six courses will be approximately $1,600 while other private providers who offer the same instruction and certification may cost three to four times that amount."

The new Microsoft IT Academy program at OWCC will augment a series of information technology certification programs offered at the college including UNIX, A+, Network+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Certified Novell Administrator (CNA) and Certified Novell Engineer (CNE).

OWCC will offer three of the six courses needed for the MCSE certification and three of the four courses needed for the MCSA certification in the Fall, including CDA 2500 Network Technology, CDA 2523 Windows XP Professional and CDA 2525 Windows 2000 Server. Courses in the Microsoft IT Academy program will be offered in the evening at the OWCC Niceville campus.

Maddox noted that while students may be able to complete the entire series in two to three terms, the length of study depends on a student’s computer experience and past coursework.

"Students must have completed an introductory Windows course or be able to demonstrate basic computer skills in Windows XP or 2000 and basic networking skills before enrolling in the first Microsoft IT Academy course," said Maddox.

Currently in the U.S., the demand for skilled Information Technology (IT) workers has never been greater. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections from 1998-2008, four of the five fastest-growing occupations in the economy are all computer related, with employment numbers expected to grow up to 108 percent.

Microsoft certifications, including Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) are highly valued credentials, coveted by employers. As a Microsoft IT Academy Program member school, OWCC offers the official Microsoft curriculum courses that lead to these certifications. Additionally, students can be assured that the IT faculty has been trained in the latest Microsoft technologies.

According to a study conducted by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) April 2001, hiring managers report an anticipated shortfall of 425,000 IT workers to fill their open positions this year. "Academic institutions are increasingly working to help fill this gap through their technical training programs", said Diana Carew, Program Manager, Workforce Development and Community College Relations for the Education Solutions Group at Microsoft. "The Microsoft IT Academy Program is aimed squarely at helping schools in their mission to deliver quality training to their students seeking certifications, degrees, or who are otherwise continuing their education."

The Microsoft IT Academy Program is an alliance that provides schools the program support needed to be a premier resource for Microsoft training and certification. Backed up by faculty training, technical support and marketing tools, the Microsoft IT Academy Program helps schools effectively serve students’ IT training needs.

Registration for the OWCC Fall term begins July 15 and 16 for active duty military and civil service members who may enroll at the OWCC Eglin Air Force Base or Hurlburt Field Centers from 8:00 am to 6:00 p.m. or by web. All returning students may enroll for fall term by web starting July 22. New student registration begins July 29.

For information on the new Microsoft IT Academy or other OWCC computer certification programs contact Ginger Maddox at 729-5217 or or Ray Rickman, Chair of Manufacturing and Technology at 729-5218 or e-mail

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