|Microsoft locally launched its Unlimited Potential Program, an outreach effort to increase worldwide computer literacy and reduce the global digital divide in technology skills, with the announcement of its beneficiary communities in Subic and Clark, Pampanga.
Unlimited Potential is a global initiative focused on providing technology skills for underserved individuals. Recipients of UP grants are public centers where people can gain IT skills and training to help themselves and their communities.
In the Philippines, Unlimited Potential provides technology training to Amerasian youth who are displaced, out-of-school and victims of discrimination, particularly since the removal of U.S. bases in the country. Unlimited Potential seeks to give these youth better employment opportunities.
Dubbed "Pag-Asa," the local initiative is implemented in cooperation with Learn.ph who will work with two local non-governmental organizations at two project sites: People's Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance Foundation Center near Subic Freeport Zone, and the Manpower Skills and Training Center Don Bosco near Clark Development and Economic Zone. The Unlimited Potential grant provides these centers with Microsoft software, computers, Internet connection, and training modules. Approximately 800 people will receive basic computer literacy training, while 30 will go on for more comprehensive training and certification.
"While technology skills are very important for today's work force, millions of people around the world still face the challenge of how and where to obtain these skills," said Antonio "TJ" Javier, Managing Director of Microsoft Philippines. "Unlimited Potential will help the underprivileged yet equally deserving Amerasians in realize their potential to successfully compete in today's marketplace."
Microsoft has made a five-year, $1 billion commitment to Unlimited Potential and other programs to bridge the digital divide. Nearly $50 million in cash and software has been distributed since the program was initiated in May 2003. The recipients of this program span more than 45 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America.
In the Philippines, a total of $153,000 in cash and software was granted to fund the Unlimited Potential sites in Subic and Clark.
UP grants provide community technology learning centers with funding to launch or sustain IT skills training programs, including hiring and training technology instructors, expanding course offerings, and reaching a broader base of underserved community members. Microsoft has developed UP curriculum that emphasizes real-world technology applications and will initially be available in English, French, Spanish and German. In the near future, Microsoft will work with partners to launch a global support network to deliver technology research, tools and services to training centers worldwide.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.