In response to last month's unemployment report in the United States, Microsoft has announced its new program called Elevate America. The program is aimed at providing the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Microsoft Pamela Passman, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, said in a statement that, "Millions of Americans don't have the technology skills needed in today's economy. Through Elevate America, we want to help workers get the skills they need to succeed."
The initiative is has two main goals, one providing a online website for immediate access to retraining information and the other working with local and state government in providing these resources available to citizens. The online website has launched today and will be updated as new resources and information becomes available. The website is split into four major categories: Getting the basics, expanding your skills, building your career, and creating your future career, which is very similar to the recent announcement of Microsoft Thrive.
Microsoft will be providing state and local governments with 1 million Microsoft Learning vouchers for access to Microsoft eLearning courses and certification exams. The first states that will receive these vouchers are Washington, New York, and Flora. Washington's Governor Chris Gregoire has noted this new program is "[an] example of Microsoft's leadership on education and work force development – issues that bring us a step closer to recovery by helping provide critically important help to our citizens."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics more than half of the jobs in the U.S. require some kind of technical skills, and has estimated that that number will climb to 77 percent in the next decade. Anywhere you go you will need basic computing skills, and this is a huge step up for Microsoft given the current global economic recession.