New joint program targets education resources, jobs training, and employment
Washington, DC, has entered into a wide-ranging strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp.—a "Digital Alliance"—the first of its kind in the nation, that will bring increased technology access and computer skills training to District residents, new resources for teachers and students, and development initiatives aimed at helping small, District-based businesses.
Working closely with Microsoft on this comprehensive Digital Alliance, the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) will provide training on basic technology tools to help ensure that participating residents can develop the digital skills required for many of today's entry-level jobs. Additionally, DC public schools will partner with Microsoft to provide District teachers with increased access to technology resources to bolster classroom learning environments.
"We operate in a 21st-century economy, and the demand for digital skills has never been higher. This strategic partnership with Microsoft takes an important step toward helping our citizens expand their employment opportunities and bring pioneering technology to our classrooms, helping to build the next generation of digital leaders."
— Vincent C. Gray, Mayor, Washington, DC
Digital Alliance: Economic impact and job creation
The Digital Alliance will initially focus on two aspects of job creation within
First, the partnership will address workforce development efforts for the unemployed, underemployed and those seeking additional skills, in order to foster employability and lifelong learning.
Partnership with Department of Employment Services (DOES): Washington, DC, under the leadership of DOES, will identify candidates with gaps in digital literacy and help to close those gaps by exposing residents to digital basics through Microsoft's Digital Literacy Curriculum. For those seeking employment opportunities that require productivity software skills, DOES and Microsoft will provide training on Microsoft productivity software to a predetermined number of residents. Upon completion of a training program, many residents will receive a certificate of technology proficiency that can be added to their resume to help increase employment opportunities.
Resources for Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs): Microsoft will also provide significant partner support and engagement as well as $100,000 in business development resources to 10 local Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs). These DC-based firms will receive access to Microsoft product groups, technical training, sales pipeline support and marketing strategy and material development services designed to increase business opportunities and create new jobs within the District. Such investments, usually reserved for larger organizations, can significantly help the District CBEs to accelerate the growth of their businesses. Additional background on the District's CBE program can be found at the Department of Small and Local Business Development.
Digital Alliance: Education
For Washington, DC, educators and students, the Digital Alliance will provide resources to bolster educator professional development and broaden access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning opportunities across the district.
"By combining the numerous digital and training assets of Microsoft with the infrastructure of targeted programs of Washington, DC, this partnership will empower more DC residents and organizations to realize their full potential. Microsoft is excited to support Mayor Gray in his mission to create more economic opportunity and excite more students about technology here in Washington, DC."
— Fred Humphries, Microsoft Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs
Working with the Office of the Chancellor of DC Public Schools and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, the partnership will have two core components at the start:
For educators: Washington, DC, will work with Microsoft to implement and host the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Program, a two-day seminar for educators focused on the integration of technology into classroom teaching and learning scenarios. The first wave of MIE sessions for local educators will be held this spring at Howard University.
For students: The next generation of Washingtonians will also gain exposure to the growing career opportunities in STEM fields through two programs:
Microsoft DigiGirlz Days: One-day technology exposure events, where hundreds of local high school girls can gain a better understanding of what a career in technology is all about.
Minority Student Days: One-day events providing high school students from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds with the opportunity to take on technology challenges through small group work, interactions with Microsoft executives, and learning more about technology-related careers.
To learn more about the program, send email to DigitalAlliance@microsoft.com.