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Declining oil prices are creating challenges for their economy which derives 90% of its revenue from oil and natural resource production. The State has turned to Microsoft with a need to adapt education and workforce skilling, reduce costs, and streamline operations.

The State of Alaska and Microsoft have formed a digital alliance to invest in tech education and modernizing government operations. “This new partnership advances Governor Dunleavy’s priority of developing jobs and the economy by helping to improve digital skills for Alaska’s students and promoting broadband access for our rural, native communities,” said Commissioner Tshibaka. “It also will significantly advance our efforts to modernize the State’s IT practices and strengthen our cybersecurity.”

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Upskilling the government workforce

Today’s government workforce will need to adapt to new ways of work, evolving citizen needs, and a changing technological landscape. The Microsoft upskilling program offers access to a spectrum of training and certification paths. State and Local Government organizations that are empowered with tools like Microsoft Teams greatly reduce the cost of travel and improve collaboration and efficiency.

In addition to upskilling the government workforce on updated workplace and collaboration tools, like Microsoft 365, Microsoft will extend additional technology skill development programs and certification paths to state government teams by applicable role and discipline. With a larger toolkit and a tech-forward approach, Alaska’s workforce will be ready for the future of government.

Supporting and improving Alaska schools

To prepare for the future, the State is working to create economic opportunities and promote science and technology in Alaska schools. Helping lead that initiative, Microsoft has developed focused programs in partnership with US Education and the State of Alaska. These education initiatives include promoting greater participation in STEM by female middle and high school students in the state.

These education initiatives include the Every Student Succeeds Act and DigiGirlz.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)   

By rolling out the free Microsoft 365 Teams collaboration and communication solution to all academic institutions, Microsoft and the State of Alaska makes STEM training more accessible to students of all incomes. The Microsoft and Alaska digital alliance also helps roll out the MS Teams virtual school solution for distance delivered e-learning.  The program also includes:

  • Four-day, hands-on trainings for Minecraft Education across the state
  • Training for Microbit

DigiGirlz

This program gives middle and high school girls opportunities to learn about technology careers, connect with STEM industry professionals and Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer science workshops.

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Reaching rural Alaskans

Under the Rural Broadband Initiative, Microsoft has partnered with Alaska’s state and local internet service providers (ISPs) to explore opportunities to deliver cost-effective broadband access to rural areas. With its extensive technical expertise, Microsoft will provide knowledge sharing to local providers to improve connectivity across the state.

Learn more about Microsoft’s Airband Initiative to connect rural America.

Supporting the future of work

Through this new digital alliance, Microsoft will support the State’s advanced analytics and business intelligence initiatives. Through real-time data within and between departments and agencies alongside the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), Alaska will expedite and refine critical decision making.  Using machine learning to improve delivery of services and interaction with the public will offer, the State will be more efficient and accurate data gathering and identify the work skill gaps of their citizens.

The state of tomorrow

Microsoft has 15 active digital alliances with state and local governments across the nation. These programs take an active focus on K-20 education, student entrepreneurs, software startups, and job seekers. They also help expand the local economy through increased digital literacy, computer science education, and workforce development.

For additional details about the Alaska digital alliance, please see the press release from the Office of Governor. To find out how Microsoft is empowering state and local government to transform, modernize, innovate, and deliver better citizen services, please visit the Microsoft in Government website.