Back in September we launched the Elevate America community initiative, a new grant program to support nonprofit organizations offering employment services, including technology skills training and job placement, in local communities across the United States. We had an incredible response with over 300 nonprofits applying for grants through our request for proposal process.
This is the latest extension of Elevate America, which was launched in February 2009 to provide people across the United States with no cost and low cost access to the technology skills they need to find employment. Since the program’s launch we have worked with 32 states and the District of Columbia to distribute nearly 900,000 no cost Microsoft training and certification vouchers. Last year we announced the Elevate America Veterans initiative, which focuses on working with nonprofits to address the specific challenges facing U.S. veterans and their spouses in their transition from military to civilian employment.
Bonnie, Wayne, Janice, Jesse and Jim have all benefitted from training through Elevate America you can find out more at the Elevate America website.
It’s clear that the demand for the technology skills people need to prepare for employment is as high as ever. Since 2003, we have worked with nonprofit organizations through our Unlimited Potential initiative to support technology skills training in underserved communities across the United States. These programs have reached more than 27 million people to date and we know the core success factor is partnership. Addressing the issues of skills is about working with organizations with a presence and knowledge of the local community.
Our approach to the selection of Elevate America community initiative grant recipients was to find partners with a strong track record in the provision of training services, who bring fresh thinking to how we address the issue of helping people get into the workforce. We want to support local community models that can be successfully replicated elsewhere and specifically address the needs of women and young workers (ages 18-25) who have greater barriers to employment, as well as the broader population.
We received over 300 applications from outstanding organizations across the country. In order to review the large number of proposals we commissioned a team of 13 workforce experts to participate in the evaluation process. After several iterations of review and discussion our team selected 27 finalists to participate in phone interviews. Following this we were able to identify 12 organizations to receive over $5 million in Elevate America community initiative funding over the next two years.
Reviewing the proposals provided a valuable insight into the incredible work underway in communities across the country. Trying to settle on a shortlist was incredibly difficult, but we’re satisfied that we have identified twelve organizations who will deliver high-impact programs:
- FSW, Inc.; Bridgeport, CT
- Henry Street Settlement; New York, NY
- YMCA of Greater Boston Education and Training Branch; Boston, MA
- Career Edge; Venice, FL
- Erie Neighborhood House; Chicago, IL
- Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.; Nashville, Tennessee
- Twin Cities RISE!; Minneapolis, MN
- Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties, Inc.; San Francisco, CA
- Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade; Los Angeles, CA
- The Stride Center; Oakland, CA
- Tincan; Spokane, WA
- TransAccess; San Jose, CA
In addition to providing these organizations with $5 million in cash over the next two years, we are also committing up to $10 million in software to all of the organizations that applied to the Elevate America community initiative grant process, to both recognize and support the important work they are doing to help people in their local communities.
We are looking forward to working closely with these organizations over the next two years as we continue to focus on giving people the skills they need to find employment.
Online training resources
You can find more information about Elevate America and the no cost and low cost training and education resources we offer to help people develop better technology skills for the jobs of the 21st century workforce please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/elevateamerica