Preparing a more inclusive workforce through targeted skilling

Bridging the digital divide with bold skilling initiatives

The events of the past year have further revealed the great digital divide that exists throughout the US and the far-reaching economic impact of these disparities. With crisis, however, often comes opportunity, the fruit of which we’ve seen in unprecedented digital transformation from multinationals to small business to education. Microsoft is committed to helping the workforce similarly transform through sustainable skilling initiatives that aim to produce a more inclusive economy. We see this as an investment in all-around economic resilience and growth and look to our partners to join us in this important work.

Turning crisis into opportunity for many through Accelerate, Microsoft’s targeted skilling initiative

Microsoft’s Accelerate program reflects the US-based implementation of the broader Microsoft Global Skills Initiative, which launched last year with the goal of equipping 25 million people worldwide with more digital skills by the end of 2020. Microsoft Accelerate works to level the opportunity playing field here in the US by providing foundational skills to underserved communities as well as upskilling and cross-skilling for those with existing digital fluency. In this way, Microsoft is promoting the economic uplift of those at risk of job displacement and unemployment due to a lack of digital skills and equips others to keep pace with advances in technology.

In partnership with public, private, and community partners, our goal is to rapidly increase digital skilling for 6 million US residents in FY21 to help ensure a more diverse workforce can access new economic opportunities as markets recover from the impact of COVID. Accelerate is expected to reach over 54 million people across the US, from students to service workers.

Leverage your connections to boost the pace of digital fluency in your community

We still have a long way to go in closing the digital divide and are proud to walk this journey alongside our partners who are equally committed to a culture of diversity and inclusion. As a Microsoft partner, you have a tremendous opportunity to leverage your local connections and influence to accelerate the pace of digital fluency and realize the communal benefits of an increasingly inclusive, skilled workforce.

Partners across the US have launched their own skilling initiatives, working with organizations in their own communities to identify and equip economically vulnerable groups with foundational digital skills, fueling a diverse talent pool for high-demand sectors, and contributing to the proliferation of Microsoft technology hubs.

Microsoft partner Neudesic smooths economic inequalities through targeted STEAM education

Microsoft partner Neudesic is helping close the digital divide by equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in a science and technology-driven future. “The need for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) related jobs is expected to double by the year 2030,” explains Neudesic president and co-founder, Tim Marshall, “We need to ensure that everyone is afforded the same opportunities to fill this gap.”

To address this need and smooth socioeconomic inequalities, Neudesic created the Aspire program, which provides STEAM education to marginalized students and families. Through financial assistance, mentorship, and developing digital solutions for organizations, Neudesic has created a path to the STEAM jobs for marginalized students, amplified the work of community partners, and nurtured a culture of active inclusivity among their own team.

Watch Tyler Bryson’s 3 Questions interview with Tim here:

Next steps

We hope you have been inspired by the impactful work partners like you are doing to bring sustainable social and economic progress to target populations. Consider how you can leverage your team and expertise to help bridge the digital divide and create a more inclusive workforce in your own community.

Learn more about Microsoft Accelerate.



Other posts you may like

A new program to level the playing field: Microsoft Accelerate

Maximize your workforce skilling plan with these resources

Enable return to growth with Power Platform