Submitted by Microsoft
"Access to training and technology skills is a key success factor in creating employment opportunities in underserved communities," Gates said. "Europe's unemployed are a major concern of governments we are working with, and our Unlimited Potential grants are supporting innovative partnerships that bring new skills to those who need them."
Through the UP program, Microsoft is working to help a quarter-billion people around the world gain access to the technology, learning curriculum and skills training necessary to support employability and foster economic development in communities where they live.
UP Grants Expand Global Partnerships
The new round of UP grants -- the sixth since the program debuted in May 2003 -- provide $25.2 million in cash and software for community technology training programs around the world. One example is the recently announced Technology, Innovation and Initiative (TII) program, a pioneering new project developed in conjunction with the Technological Centre for the Textile and Clothing Industries (CITEVE) of Portugal to provide workers in Portugal's textile industry with new skills and qualifications to enhance their long-term employability prospects. The TII project is a three-year initiative to train at least 3,000 workers from Portugal's textile sector, which is being significantly affected by increasing global competition, with an estimated 20,000 people in the sector already unemployed.
"Boosting employment and access to training and skills for older workers and the young unemployed is one of the European Union's key objectives," said Vladimir Spidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. "The European Commission's growth and jobs strategy aims to equip 20 million Europeans with new skills for new and better jobs by 2010. It is vital that the Members States and private companies work together to help make this happen. I'd like to commend CITEVE, Microsoft and the local and national government here in Portugal for this innovative partnership that creates a best-practice example for others."
Other examples of how the newest Microsoft UP grants will support the work of partner agencies to empower people around the world include the following:
The centers will use the grants to help hire and train technology instructors, expand course offerings and reach a broader base of underserved community members. Centers can also request a basic IT skills curriculum that emphasizes real-world technology applications and is available in 15 languages. Microsoft, in alliance with the International Research and Development Centre and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, supported the creation of telecentre.org, a collaborative initiative that will strengthen the capacity of tens of thousands of CTCs. A complete description of the UP program and a list of grant recipients can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/citizenship/overview/uprecipients.asp.
In addition to the Unlimited Potential grant announcement today, Microsoft announced the global expansion of the Fresh Start for Donated Computers Program to include Pentium III (PIII) systems. Owners of PIIIs enrolled in the programme will receive a grant letter, license agreement and installation CDs for Microsoft Windows® 98 or Windows 2000. The program's expansion offers significant benefits because it allows schools to take advantage of the Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement, which offers steep educational discounts to those who upgrade to Windows XP. The expansion of the Fresh Start for Donated Computers Program extends Microsoft's commitment to providing technology access and skills training, by 2010, to a quarter-billion people who have been underserved by technology.
More information about GLF Europe 2006 can be found in the online virtual pressroom at http://www.microsoft.com/emea/presscentre/glfportugal/default.mspx.
More information about Microsoft's community investments can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/unlimitedpotential.
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Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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