Pennsylvania, PSU, Microsoft team up

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge on Monday joined representatives from Penn State

University and Microsoft Corp. in a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony at the

new E-Commerce Center for Excellence.

The center, located at Penn State's Eastgate Center in Harrisburg, will

be supported by software and staff from Microsoft and will include technical

briefings and hands-on demonstrations of e-commerce subjects, as well as

offering certification courses for students interested in technology careers.

Penn State's new School for Information Sciences and Technology will provide

faculty to teach e-commerce courses and lead internship programs.

"This center will provide a resource for educating Pennsylvanians on

the latest trends in e-commerce and the benefits of doing business over

the Internet," Ridge said in a release. "By drawing on the high-tech expertise

of both Microsoft and Penn State, this facility will quickly become a vital

tool for better preparing our citizens, employers and government in the

productive use of e-commerce."

Also in commonwealth technology news, Ridge last week announced nearly

$12 million in the first technology grants made through the Pennsylvania

Technology Investment Authority.

The PTIA is a regionally based financing tool that Ridge signed into

law last year. It includes three main funding components: a fund for capital

investment in knowledge-based companies; grants to support the growth of

e-commerce in state businesses and to support community Internet initiatives;

and a fund for investment in university-based research centers.

Nine institutions, including the University of Pittsburgh Office of

Technology Management and the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern

Pennsylvania, received the initial grants.

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