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Microsoft has announced an initiative that will offer free technology training for up to 2 million people over the next three years. Dubbed Elevate America, the program is part of Microsoft’s effort to provide the technology training needed to excel in the 21st-century workplace. In partnership with more than 17 states, including Washington, New York, and Florida, Elevate America is designed for professionals who want to develop their tech skills with Microsoft training and certification.
Elevate America (www.micro soft.com/ElevateAmerica) will also provide 1 million training vouchers and feature a range of e-learning courses, from the basics (how to use e-mail, for example) to Microsoft certification. Vouchers are available at state workforce development and employment agencies in those states that have signed up for the program. Microsoft has also partnered with organizations such as AARP, the National Urban League, and the United Negro College Fund to provide training programs across the U.S. through the Microsoft Unlimited Potential program, an extension of Elevate America.
“A significant portion of the minority population is getting adversely impacted by this economic crisis,” says Akhtar Badshah, Microsoft’s senior director of community affairs. According to Badshah, 77% of all jobs in the next decade will require some technology skills. “We decided to offer our courses online and certification at no cost, to get people access to training around basic, intermediate, and advanced skills.”
This article originally appeared in the August 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.