Microsoft partners with FCC on “Connect to Compete” initiative

Here at Microsoft, we are excited to partner with the FCC and support the “Connect to Compete” initiative that strives to bring all Americans access to broadband, computers, software and the knowledge needed to compete in the global market. We know the link between education attainment and economic growth has never been clearer, and we believe that everyone in the public and private sector must contribute to ensure all students have access to the skills they need to get quality jobs.
Knowing how to communicate and share ideas using technology is a critical factor to being qualified for many high paying jobs that even today are going unfilled. At this very moment, more than 40,000 open jobs can be found on that require knowing how to use Microsoft Excel. It’s a trend nationwide that is only going to continue as the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that 77% of American jobs will require technology skills in the next decade. Yet, we have an unemployment rate of 18% amongst our youth. This is a serious skills gap we must start to close now.
As part of Microsoft’s commitment to the FCC initiative, we will provide a portal for free online job skills training and assessments and basic digital literacy – including Microsoft Office, with courses in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. And beginning in 15 states over the next 3 years and quickly expanding nationwide, Microsoft will also work with its partners to expand the Microsoft IT Academy program and deploy Microsoft Office training through its retail stores, local schools, libraries and community colleges – helping ensure access to the software skills needed to land the jobs of today and tomorrow. This effort leverages the multi-million dollar investments Microsoft has made in technology curriculum and commits us to an ongoing partnership that will help shape the future for millions of Americans.
This is more than just skills training, but also making sure there is universal broadband access and access to computers in the home. Digital inclusion represents a real opportunity for cities and states to create local jobs, to improve economic growth and to increase their competitiveness. Microsoft’s goal is to help the U.S. improve to a top 10 World Economic Forum ranking in terms of the number of home users and those who have internet access. In the U.S, 9.5 million students are without digital access at home. Why does that matter? The total annual U.S. economic impact of this digital divide is $32 billion, with a lifetime impact to these students, their families and the country of $1.2 trillion.
Research shows that a child has a 6% higher chance of graduating from high school when there is a computer at home. Just last month at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, and in partnership with the FCC, Comcast, NFTE and One Economy, we announced a commitment to help 1 million students in low income homes get access to a device, software and broadband. Today’s announcement aligns with Microsoft’s global Shape the Future program, which builds public/private partnerships with governments to attain universal technology access for all their citizens. We hope by expanding access to our Office training, skills assessment and digital literacy curricula, we can continue to level the playing field. It’s just one way we are trying to help make sure a quality education is a right for all, not a privilege for some.

Comments (1)

  1. Jim Boiles says:

    I'm trying to get assistance for a low income family (3 children, single mom) for Internet service and a computer.

    Are there programs for this? We are in east Texas.

    Jim Boiles

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