This is for real, and although I would like to see IBM for Lotus do something similar, my state appreciates the effort.
In an email link I received from the InternetCoast which is intermingled with the CIO Council I am part of as well as the South Florida Technology Alliance, they discussed Microsoft's new training initiative.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
A new training effort spearheaded by Microsoft will offer free tech training to millions. Elevate America, the initiative launched by Microsoft Sunday, aims to give 2 million people during the next two years tech training both online and at regional telecenters.
The online resource is focused on helping users figure out what types of technical skills are required for IT jobs, and provides resources to help acquire these skills. The Web site offers access to several Microsoft online training programs, from very basic (e.g., "How to use the Internet") to much more advanced (e.g., "Implementing and Supporting Microsoft Windows XP Professional").
To provide a variety of training, Microsoft will partner with state and local governments. Florida, New York and Washington will be the first states to offer Elevate America courses.
The odd reference to XP aside, this is a good thing for many of the out of work people in the country. In the IT industry one can and usually will make more money, up to a point, than in many other jobs in the world.
That article will lead you to this page which outlines various people and ways to get trained or enhanced your knowledge of Microsoft products.
But what is truly amazing to me, and I love the way it reminds me of the NY subway maps, and makes it easy to follow is this pdf found if you select the "Expand Your Skills" option of "Find the IT skills needed for jobs you want".
Maybe IBM can do this as well and provide a similar chart for certifications.