Today marks a significant milestone for our Elevate America program with Louisiana and Ohio becoming the last states to join the program, which is part of Microsoft’s overall Unlimited Potential efforts to improve social and economic opportunities for people. Since we launched Elevate America in February 2009, thirty two states and the District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico and American Samoa (see full list below) have partnered with us to offer over 800,000 no cost training and certification vouchers to people across the United States.
We have learned a lot from working directly with the states and it’s clear they face tough challenges addressing the issues of unemployment and retraining. However we’re also discovering that providing people with ready access to technology skills training and certification can help people in their quest to find employment.
We are evaluating how we can apply what we’ve learned from the program so far to other training and employment initiatives. In March we announced the Elevate America Veterans initiative which will support active duty service members and their spouses who are transitioning out of the U.S. military as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve returning to their civilian jobs. The unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is 20 percent higher than the overall unemployment rate for nonveterans according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. veterans are highly trained in military and leadership skills, but many lack the formal education, training and certification required by employers. We are currently calling on organizations to help provide job placement, career counseling and other critical support services, such as child care and transportation assistance, to help ensure a successful transition to the civilian work force.
We are continuing to work with the states, and later this year we hope to share more in-depth results and learning from the program on the blog. If you’re interested in finding out more information please visit the Elevate America website.
Thirty two states and the District of Columbia as well as Puerto Rico and American Samoa are participating in Elevate America
Elevate America program partners:
District of Columbia