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Friday, May 21, 2010



Fort Myers, Fla. (December 28, 2009) – A Letter of Understanding between Dunbar High School in Fort Myers and Southwest Florida College will fast-track the school's information technology graduates by granting them advanced standing at the college. Students who successfully complete Microsoft IT Academy as part of their high school curriculum will be granted college credit that applies directly to an associate's degree in information technology related programs, the college announced this week.

"Students at Dunbar High School who are enrolled in its branch of the Microsoft IT Academy are taking college-level courses and SWFC wants to recognize this," said Jennifer Cohen, Program Manager for Information Technology at Southwest Florida College.

Dunbar High School is the first high school in the world offering the Microsoft IT Academy. This is the fifth year that Dunbar has offered the program and thus far, it has certified 1,400 students, with 90 students certified this year alone. A total of 18 different Microsoft Certifications are available to the students at Dunbar High School.

Due to this success, students who are now graduating or have graduated from Dunbar High School are encouraged to further their education and careers by enrolling at Southwest Florida College. In doing so, the student can eliminate repetition of academic experiences already acquired while they were enrolled in the Microsoft Academic Academy at Dunbar High School.

Depending on the high school students' course and certification exam completion, a total of up to 16 credits may be granted toward an associate's degree in Network Engineering and Administration and a total of up to 8 credits may be given for an associate's degree in Web Design and Development at Southwest Florida College, enabling a student the possibility to graduate in less than two years.

Cohen explained how having both a degree and a certification can mean making it from the back of the line to the front of the line in the hiring process.

"Certification is confirmation that you understand the material, but it is a combination of both certification and college degree graduates that employers seek. This can make a real difference in the amount of pay you can receive once you graduate," she said.

The Information Technology instructors at Dunbar High School are also a part of the Southwest Florida College Information Technology Advisory Board.

"Dunbar teaches Microsoft Academy Certified courses, same as Southwest Florida College," Cohen said. "We know their students are good learners because they are coming with Microsoft Academy Certifications and their teachers are Microsoft Certified Trainers, as are ours. We welcome these graduates to the Information Technology degree programs at Southwest Florida College upon high school graduation."

Southwest Florida College prides itself on having Master's level instructors and Microsoft Certificated courses taught by Microsoft Certified Trainers or MCT's. Many of our instructors are IT directors or managers for companies doing business in Fort Myers.

"We don't just teach the book, we bring real life experience into the classroom by focusing on assessment and making sure our students are knowledgeable and ready for the workplace," Cohen said.

Southwest Florida College is an accredited, private institution of higher learning centrally located in Fort Myers, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and includes the Institute of Interior Design located within the Miromar Design Center in Estero. The College offers programs in Health Care, Business, Design, Education, Information Technology and Legal Studies. Its mission is to provide educational opportunities for individuals to acquire knowledge and skills that will help prepare them for rewarding careers in fields with high growth potential. For more information, call toll free 8885267973 or visit

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