Microsoft celebrates 1-year anniversary of YouthSpark and launches new programs for year 2

Monday marks the 1-year anniversary of the launch of YouthSpark, a global initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries by 2015.

In its first year, Microsoft created opportunities for 103 million youth. Now, Microsoft is increasing access to computer science education through expansion of TEALS – Technology Education And Literacy in Schools – and providing an enhanced digital literacy and technology skills curriculum through its YouthSpark Hub.

“The economic and societal challenges facing youth around the world loom larger than ever with the youth unemployment rate expected to click upward to 12.8 percent by 2018 as forecasted by the International Labour Organization’s report, ‘Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013’,” writes Lori Forte Harnick, general manager of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Microsoft in a blog post.

As the technology sector continues to drive economic growth (particularly in developing countries), youth with ICT skills will find themselves better qualified for new employment and entrepreneurial activities.

To give youth a head start in gaining critical technology skills that are required for today’s jobs, Microsoft on Monday launched a new game-based and interactive digital literacy curriculum for Office 2013 on the YouthSpark Hub. Through this online curriculum, youth around the world have free access – anytime and anywhere – to learning the basics of word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and databases.

And, in the U.S., Microsoft’s TEALS expansion will more than double the number of high schools where software engineers are voluntarily partnering with in-service faculty to teach basic and Advanced Placement computer science courses. The expansion of the TEALS program now includes 70 schools in 12 states with 280 volunteers that will teach 3,000 students during the 2013-2014 school year.

For more on this story, read this press release over on the Microsoft News Center and then head on over to the Microsoft Citizenship Blog.

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Jeff Meisner
Microsoft News Center Staff