Microsoft announced today that they have launched YouthSpark, a citizenship program that will create opportunities for 300 million young people over the next three years. 

You can read more about this effort at the Citizenship News Center, where you can see an interview about the launch initiative with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Below is a list of questions and answers about why Microsoft is doing this.

What is the problem?

“We see a growing opportunity divide between those young people who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who don’t.”

“The rate of youth unemployment is double that of rest of the population.  That isn’t just an issue for future economic prosperity – it’s a personal crisis for a growing number of young people who are being left behind.

What is our Commitment?

“Microsoft YouthSpark is a companywide initiative to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world in the next three years.”

“Our next generation of citizenship programs and partnerships focus on the world’s next generation of people.”

Why Microsoft?

“We’re a global company, with Citizenship programs underway in over 100 countries. That gives us a unique perspective, a broad scale, and deep partnerships to bring to bear on this crisis.”

“We have a thirty year commitment to philanthropy, we’re mobilizing our company and our partners. We know we can use this experience to make a difference”.

What defines our approach?

“YouthSpark is about creating opportunities for youth in education, employment and entrepreneurship”.

“This is about empowering young people to imagine and realize their potential. We are committed to using our technology, talent, time and money to help tackle this crisis.”

“YouthSpark is a cross-company initiative which goes beyond philanthropy.  We’re mobilizing the whole company, and through the Microsoft YouthSpark hub we are helping young people find all the resources they need to pursue education, employment, and entrepreneurship.

Why is this important?

“Microsoft believes that addressing the challenges facing youth is one of the most important actions that we can take together to secure the future of this generation and, the future of our global economy.”

 Can you really succeed?

“It’s a big challenge.  But we’ve seen the amazing things young people can achieve when they get the opportunity.  We need to work together to give them that opportunity.”