Microsoft Awards Elevate America Community Initiative Grants
Feb. 03, 2011
Company awards grants to nonprofit organizations to help underserved populations find jobs.

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 3, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it is awarding more than $5 million in cash and up to $10 million in software over the next two years to 12 nonprofits that offer technology skills training and job placement services to local communities in the United States.

In today’s technology-driven economy, finding a job without strong technology skills and during a tough economic downturn can be extremely difficult. To help ease this burden, through its Elevate America community initiative, Microsoft is partnering with nonprofit organizations that provide technology access and skills training in their local communities to help people find employment. The company is placing a special focus on underserved communities, including women and young workers (ages 18–25) who have greater barriers to employment and re-employment than the broader population.

Women are often at a disproportionate disadvantage in the work force. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, almost 60 percent of all low-wage workers are female compared with 44 percent of higher wage workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes women’s re-employment rate is roughly 6 percent lower than men’s. In addition, young workers also see a disproportionate disadvantage in the work force as compared with the broader population. According to the Economic Policy Institute, young adults represent 13.5 percent of the work force but account for 26.4 percent of unemployed workers.*

These grants will help fund a comprehensive set of resources to help people be successful in today’s workplace, including career counseling, technology skills training, job placement, and additional support services such as childcare and transportation. The following organizations were selected through a competitive funding process to receive the cash and in-kind grants:

  • FSW; Bridgeport, Conn.

  • Henry Street Settlement; New York

  • YMCA of Greater Boston Education and Training Branch; Boston

  • Career Edge; Venice, Fla.

  • Erie Neighborhood House; Chicago

  • Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee Inc.; Nashville, Tenn.

  • Twin Cities RISE!; Minneapolis

  • Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties; San Francisco

  • Brotherhood Crusade; Los Angeles

  • The Stride Center; Oakland, Calif.

  • Tincan; Spokane, Wash.

  • TransAccess; San Jose, Calif.

Through these grants, Microsoft expects to reach more than 16,000 people in the next two years.

The organizations selected have demonstrated how their approach to providing people with technology and job training resources can be scaled at the end of the two years, with the goal of creating replicable models to expand to additional communities.

“Too many Americans don’t have the technology skills that many jobs today require,” said Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Global Corporate Affairs at Microsoft. “Our grant recipient organizations have demonstrated how they can reach some of the most underserved people in our society, and we’re honored to partner with them to provide training and job support to the people that need it most.”

Microsoft will also offer software donations to each of the 300 organizations that applied to the Elevate America community initiative grant process to recognize and support the important work they are doing to help people across the country find jobs.

“Microsoft and its Elevate America program have enabled TransAccess to greatly increase our ability to help youth and adults with disabilities gain access to technology, employment preparation and life skills,” said Maria Nicolacoudis, executive director, TransAccess. “Microsoft’s support and leadership has made a direct and meaningful impact to help people with disabilities in our community successfully graduate from high school and college and go on to attain meaningful careers and a lifetime of independence.”

Since 2003, Microsoft has been committed to providing technology skills training to people across the country through its Microsoft Unlimited Potential program, which includes Elevate America. In partnership with thousands of nonprofit organizations, the company has reached more than 27 million people. More information on Elevate America is available at http://www.microsoft.com/ElevateAmerica.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* “The Kids Aren’t Alright — A Labor Market Analysis of Young Workers,” Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/bp258

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