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Preparing students for the workplace: Student Advantage is now available

Student AdvantageAt the end of the 2013-2014 school year, more than 2.6 million college students are expected to graduate faced with a highly competitive job market. According to a 2013 study by Harris Interactive and Chegg, fewer than two of five hiring managers find college students or recent graduates are prepared for a job in their chosen fields. It is clear that schools have an opportunity to both educate students and prepare them for a highly competitive global workforce.

According to a 2013 study by IDC, employers are looking for candidates that have 20 specific skills for high-growth, high-wage occupations. Coming in at number 3 on this list is proficiency with Microsoft Office, with proficiency with PowerPoint and Word specifically highlighted at #11 and #13 on the list. In fact, Microsoft Office skills were sought after five times more than any other productivity tools. Even Google’s own job postings require competency with Microsoft Office tools.

Because Office is such a highly valued skillset with employers, students who use Office 365 will have the most up-to-date versions of the productivity tools they need to excel in the classroom and the workforce.

Student Advantage available worldwide

In October, we announced a new benefit called Student Advantage, making it easy for students to get access to the latest version of Microsoft Office and better prepare themselves for the tools used in modern day workplaces. Today, Student Advantage is available to more than 35,000 educational institutions worldwide.

All schools and universities that license Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for staff and faculty can now also provide access to Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost. We’re already working with schools that have signed up for Student Advantage, including the Sao Paolo State Department of Education (SEE), which is providing access to Office 365 for over four million students.

To learn more about Student Advantage, visit

Schools and students give Office 365 high marks

Recently, one of North America’s largest school boards turned to Office 365 to provide more than 150,000 students and faculty with the latest Office tools. Because Office supports multiple operating systems and devices, Office 365 was a natural fit for the district. We’ll share more about this customer and their use of other Microsoft technologies later this week.

Approximately 97 percent of students using productivity software use Microsoft Office, and one such student is Kara Page. A college senior finishing a degree in biochemistry, Kara has been using Office since she was 13 and can’t imagine making it through college without it. She is using OneNote to organize her thesis research, using Lync to connect with students in a class for which she serves as a teacher’s aide and saves hours of time by using advanced functions and graphing capabilities with Excel.

Even younger students are finding the value of Office. In October, 9-year-old Jomiloju Tunde-Oladipo of Nigeria became one of the youngest certified Microsoft Office Specialists. Jomiloju, who hopes to someday work in the technology industry, joins only a handful of other students ages 10 and below who have demonstrated such a level of proficiency with Microsoft Office tools. And according to the list of skills employers are looking for, we’d say he already has a pretty good chance at fulfilling his dream.

The new Student Advantage benefit will help students like Kara and Jomiloju build the technical skills they will need once they graduate and enter the workforce. To learn more about how your school can benefit from this program, please visit:

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