CHICAGO (CBS) — The state of Illinois is teaming up with the private sector to offer people across the state – from every income level – free training in the information technology field.

Deputy Governor Leslie Munger said the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) has partnered with Microsoft and the Internet of Things Talent Consortium to offer free IT courses.

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“Technology is changing at such a rapid rate. It creates opportunities in ways that never existed before, and the result has been – as a result of this technology explosion – the creation of thousands of high-paying jobs, technical jobs, actually faster than we have graduates to fill them,” she said.

The idea of the “Data Science Program” is to help everyday people, including ex-offenders and low-income residents, have a better shot at jobs in digital technology positions.

IoT Talent Consortium president Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn said the program helps Illinois residents and the companies.

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“If we don’t actually become part of the solution, if we don’t join together and create educational programs that work for employers, we aren’t going to be able to really take advantage of what’s ahead in the digital economy,” she said.

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The new courses are available online at

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Formal certification for the courses is available for a fee, but those in need can get a discount.