By: Fred Humphries, Vice President for U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft
Microsoft has been named an official innovation provider of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and Committee for Charlotte 2012. This new relationship builds on Microsoft’s long-term partnership with the City of Charlotte to help youth realize new opportunities through educational development and support.
As an official innovation provider, Microsoft will streamline communications and enhance the convention experience for both convention organizers and participants through innovative, collaborative technology solutions like Office 365, consulting and support services, and – through our work with convention organizers and partner Interknowlogy – a touch-enabled Windows application that will allow convention delegates to cast floor votes on kiosks throughout the convention hall.
By collaborating and innovating together, Microsoft and convention organizers are working to create an unforgettable 2012 convention experience. Microsoft has advanced new ideas and technologies that have transformed business, government and consumer experiences. We are excited to bring our solutions to the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Committee for Charlotte 2012.
Long-Term Partnership with Charlotte
At Microsoft, we’re committed to creating positive and lasting impacts in the communities in which we live and work. In Charlotte, our commitment is helping youth realize new opportunities.
We know that science and technology are enormous drivers of innovation and job creation, but too many of our students are facing an opportunity divide – a growing gap between those who have the access, skills, and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Microsoft’s deep commitment to education and significant investments across the U.S. are aimed at closing that divide, with a focus on helping youth obtain the skills that they need while connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship.
Our multi-year partnership with the people and organizations of the Charlotte region includes a range of training, education and community programs, such as the Microsoft IT Academy. The IT Academy, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, has increased the number of North Carolina high school students earning IT certifications from sixteen to over 30,000 in less than two school-years.
Since 2003, the company has given charitable donations totaling more than $90.6 million including software donations in the state of North Carolina. Recently, Microsoft provided more than $2 million in software donations and support to local Charlotte region non-profits with a focus on helping youth bridge the opportunity divide by providing educational development and support, including:
- Over $726,000 in software donations to the Urban League of the Central Carolinas, a non-partisan organization that focuses on youth, education, and economic development;
- Approximately $718,000 to Child Care Resources, a non-profit child care resource and referral agency that works with families and communities to ensure that all children have access to high-quality, affordable early learning and school-age educational opportunities;
- More than $410,000 in software donations to the Foundation for the Carolinas, a philanthropic organization that helps identify and meet community needs such as closing the educational achievement gap;
- And over $149,000 in software donations and support to Charlotte WORKS, a public-private partnership that brings together area resources to educate, empower and engage Charlotte's workforce.
Microsoft has also supported Mayor Foxx’s Youth Employment Program, sponsoring five youth jobs in the city that were funded by Microsoft. Earlier this year, Microsoft also partnered with the Mayor’s Youth Education Program to host more than 120 students from local high schools on the company’s Charlotte campus for a job shadowing and career exploration event. In addition, Microsoft has launched “Kinnecting After School,” a pilot program in partnership with the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NCCAP) which offers Xbox 360s and Kinect systems for use by afterschool programs across North Carolina.
“As Mayor of Charlotte, I’m committed to making sure our young people have the skills they need to successfully pursue whatever career path they choose,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said. “To that end, I’m very grateful to Microsoft for their generous support of both my DNC youth employment legacy initiative and the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program. Together, we’re working to prepare Charlotte’s youth to enter the workforce and help provide them with a bright and prosperous future.”
In addition to Microsoft’s education and community outreach work in Charlotte, Microsoft has teamed with the city and partner, Tribridge, to develop and implement a city-wide event permitting solution based on CRM Dynamics Online. This first-of-its-kind application will create enormous benefit for Charlotte in the near-term for convention-related events, but also in the long-term for the city’s future growth and development.
Finally, Charlotte will be the scene of an important conversation in coming weeks about the challenges and opportunities facing youth. As part of Microsoft’s engagement in the 2012 national political conventions, we are partnering with National Journal and The Atlantic to host a “Conversations with the Next Generation” town hall as part of the activities at the Democratic National Convention. The discussion, which will be mirrored at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, will convene younger Americans and students for a dialogue on the critical issues they face as the next generation of leaders.
We are excited that several Charlotte participants are among the panelists for this important discussion, including Johnson C. Smith University student Charles Hauser and Johnson C. Smith President Dr. Ronald Carter. They join other leaders including StudentsFirst Founder and CEO Michelle Rhee and Young Democrats President Rod Snyder, as well as event moderators such as NBC Special Correspondent Chelsea Clinton, and the National Journal’s Chris Frates. In addition, students from several North Carolina universities will participate in the town hall.
Learn more about Microsoft’s work in Tampa and the Conversations with the Next Generation town hall events.