DigiGirlz Inspires Young Women to Explore STEM Careers

By Akhtar Badshah, senior director, Citizenship and Public Affairs Careers in technology are a hot topic of discussion these days, and for good reason. According to Code.org, computer science is a top paying college degree and computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average. Outside the United States, the tech sector is also…


The Future Will Not Wait

By Lori Forte Harnick, General Manager, Microsoft Citizenship & Public Affairs The economic and societal challenges facing youth around the world loom larger than ever with the youth unemployment rate expected to click upward to 12.8 percent by 2018 as forecasted by the International Labour Organization’s report, Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013. Yet, the…


YouthSpark Ambassadors Share Social Entrepreneurship Lessons From Kenya

By Elisa Willman, Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Microsoft Citizenship Last month, we announced the winners of Microsoft’s YouthSpark Challenge for Change contest and our new YouthSpark Ambassadors: Adam Dunn, Brian Hickey, Sneha Jayaprakash, Christina Ong and Meghan Shea. They are wrapping up their three-week volunteer trip in Kenya (part of the grand prize package), where they’ve participated in…


Good Read: Celebrating Malala Day

By Karen Bergin, Director of Citizenship and Public Affairs Did you know that one out of every four adults worldwide is functionality illiterate? This represents 793 million people. Addressing illiteracy around the world is a huge challenge because it is often the most silent. Microsoft Citizenship and Public Affairs General Manager, Lori Harnick, posted a…


Sparking Change and Opportunity through Microsoft YouthSpark

By Joanne Harrell, Senior Director, U.S. Citizenship & Public Affairs On September 20, 2012 our CEO, Steve Ballmer launched the companywide initiative Microsoft YouthSpark, which aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world in three years by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. [View:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzvKCcKSQq8] Since then, I’ve met…


YouthSpark Challenge for Change Winners Announced! Five Brilliant Sparks of Social Good

By Lori Harnick, General Manager, Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs This past year has been about sparking change through Microsoft YouthSpark, so it’s fitting that we’re announcing the five grand prize winners of the YouthSpark Challenge for Change contest just days before the fireworks-filled U.S. Fourth of July celebration. If you’ve been following the contest,…


New European partnerships aim to tackle youth unemployment

Earlier today as part of our global YouthSpark initiative we held an event in Brussels with representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to discuss the challenges facing young people in Europe. Around the world the prolonged economic downturn has disproportionately affected youth and it’s no different in Europe. The unemployment rate for 15-24…


How Reach Out and Read believes in immunizing kids against illiteracy

While literacy isn’t traditionally considered part of well-child visits, one organization is working to change this. Reach Out and Read believes that “immunizing” kids against illiteracy is just as important as general pediatric preventative care. This innovative nonprofit builds on the unique relationship that exists between parents and medical providers to develop early reading skills…


Philharmonic Society of Orange County is making music accessible

Music can have a profound effect on everything from our mood to our ability to learn and concentrate. A 2007 study published in the Journal for Research in Music Education tied quality music education instruction to improved academic performance — specifically, better scores on standardized tests. No one seems to know this better than Rita…