Pruden pilots tech program

Published 10:49 pm Friday, September 16, 2011

Suffolk and Isle of Wight County high school students will be among the first in Virginia to participate in a new Microsoft technology program.

The Pruden Center for Industry and Technology, which serves the high schools in Suffolk and Isle of Wight, is one of 39 high schools and regional career and technical education centers that will implement the Microsoft IT Academy Program this fall.

“We’re excited to be one of the pilots for this,” said Corey McCray, the director of Pruden Center. “We’re always looking for opportunities to advance our students’ learning.”

Email newsletter signup

The program is the result of a partnership between the commonwealth and Microsoft Corp. to equip high school students with technology skills that will prepare them for the job market.

“In today’s global economy, it is essential that our students are prepared for the skilled and technical jobs that are driving job growth today and will continue to be important economic drivers in the future,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a news release. “The Microsoft IT Academy brings greater technology to the classroom and ensures that students in every corner of the Commonwealth have access to a quality technology education.”

Under the program, Microsoft products will be aligned to complement the curriculum of certain subjects.

McCray said most likely, the information technology courses at Pruden, such as web design and PC technology, will be the first to take part in Microsoft IT Academy.

“The students then are using Microsoft to enhance their learning,” he said. “I think it will be a huge benefit to the students.”

He added he thinks using and learning the Microsoft products will make the students more competitive when they leave high school, because they will learn skills that some people don’t acquire in two or three years in college.

“The idea is that these students are exposed to technology that will make them competitive in the workplace,” he said. “I think that every student who is enrolled here will come out of school better prepared to go into that industry and advance quickly.”

Pruden Center and the other schools are included in the first phase in the program’s deployment, but the state’s intent is to implement IT Academy at all Virginia high schools by the end of this school year, according to the news release from the governor’s office.

McCray said the program is still in its infancy, and there are still details to work out.

He isn’t sure when the program will officially launch at Pruden Center, but he is looking forward to getting it under way.

“My hope is that it will be sooner rather than later,” he said.