- Cullman, Alabama

June 29, 2010

Free program updates computer skills

By Tiffany Green
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — A new program at the Alabama Career Center on the campus of Wallace State Community College is offering free training for those who want to update their computer skills.

The free program, Microsoft Elevate America, provides vouchers for online technology training and certification. Alabamians ages 16 and older are eligible to receive the vouchers which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis through the Alabama Career Center System.

“We can issue people vouchers and they can do programs on Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, Excel, Powerpoint and other programs,” said Sandra Rhodes, site manager at the Career Center.

Rhodes said with so many people out of work, now is the time to get extra training.

“It’s very good,” she said. “A lot of jobs require certain types of computer skills. Excel is a really big one that a lot of companies use. If they do the remedial work quickly and take the exam, they can have those skills needed in the job search.”

To obtain a voucher, you must be registered on Alabama Job Link system. Anyone who is not registered may do so on-line from any computer at or by going to the Alabama Career Center-Hanceville for registration assistance. The process is simple and takes about 20 minutes, Rhodes said.

“They can also get a voucher to take the exam,” she said.

Participants may take the test at Wallace State no later than August 11.

“If they really put their minds to it and want to get it done, they could do all the programs and take the exam by August 11,” Rhodes said. “They need to get started now.”

She said the programs take no more than 20 minutes each and the center does have computers available for use.

Each testing voucher is redeemable for a Microsoft Business Certification Exam. Only participating two-year colleges are designated testing sites for the certification exams. Advanced level online training vouchers are redeemable for training for individuals on technical professional career tracks in areas such as web development or database management.

Elevate America is a program to help strengthen the economy by providing individuals with workforce-readiness skills and technology training for the jobs in today’s society. Elevate America provides a collection of free and low-cost training and resources.

As part of the Elevate America effort, Microsoft is providing 1 million vouchers to states for no-cost access to Microsoft E-Learning courses and select Microsoft Business Certification exams.

For more information about the program, call the Alabama Career Center - Hanceville at 256-352-5538 or go to and click on the “Elevate America” icon on the left. Career center hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 * Tiffany Green can be reached by e-mail at or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.