Teaching 21st Century Skills for Employability

Posted by Lutz Ziob, 
General Manager, Microsoft Learning

The disappointing U.S. employment numbers released today demonstrate again the importance of providing students and workers with the best possible education to compete in the 21st century global economy. Unemployment is rising even as employers continue to struggle to find enough workers with technical and other needed skills. Specifically, lack of computer skills is a barrier for many job seekers. Equipping current and future workers with appropriate skills and competencies is critical to U.S. economic strength and competitiveness.

We still have a long way to go. Workforce development resources are inadequate to cope with the overwhelming number of workers in need of assistance. The federally-funded workforce training system served an impressive six million people last year, but managed to provide training to only about 410,000 of them, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Yet, significant new federal resources are unlikely to be available in the near future to broaden the reach of workforce readiness training.


These services can be extended to more workers without additional public resources through broader and more efficient use of state-of-the-art tools such as “virtual one-stops” – online sites where workers can log on to search job listings and access online training and other services. At Microsoft, we are passionate about using technology to scale real-world technology skills training. Our Elevate America

program will provide one million training or certification vouchers for learning basic computer and office productivity skills, as well as for courses and certifications for IT professionals looking to refresh or advance their skills.

We look forward to partnering with NGO’s, government, labor and other like-minded companies as we all work to ensure that workers have the education and skills they will need to maintain the nation’s global economic leadership.


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