Posted by Pamela Passman
Corporate Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs
With the addition of Louisiana and Ohio today, 32 states and the District of Columbia have now joined Elevate America, an initiative we launched 15 months ago to provide people across the United States with access to no-cost technology training and certification that helps them find employment. So far, we’ve offered more than 800,000 free training and certification vouchers through our partnerships with Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
We’ve learned a lot from working with these states. They’re each facing complex economic challenges, but it’s very encouraging to see how hard they’re working to reduce unemployment. Elevate America is designed to help by strengthening workforce skills, specifically the computer skills that half of today’s jobs require, and that will be required by an estimated 77 percent of new jobs created in the next decade. Of course, computer skills are just one set of skills that people need to find employment, yet we’re already seeing firsthand how important access to these skills can be.
Now in Louisiana and Ohio and across the country, people will continue accessing training and certification through the summer. We’re also looking at how we can apply our learning from this program to make it even more effective.
For example, the unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is 20 percent higher than for nonveterans. Although veterans are highly trained in military and leadership skills, many lack the formal education, training and certification that employers require. In March, we announced the Elevate America Veterans Initiative, which will support active-duty service members and their spouses as they transition out of the military and also aid members of the National Guard and Reserve as they return to their civilian jobs. Microsoft will contribute $2 million in cash and up to $6 million in software over the next two years to help support technology training. We’re also partnering to help provide job placement, career counseling and other critical support services, such as child care and transportation assistance, to help ensure successful transitions to the civilian work force.
At Microsoft we believe that access to technology and skills can help enable sustained economic and social opportunity. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in partnership with the states, and we remain committed to a continued focus on bringing resources to the people who need them most. If you’re interested in more information, please visit the Elevate America website.