Today in Boston, Microsoft kicks off the first in a series of exclusive events called YouthSpark Connections.  Hosted at the University of Massachusetts Boston, today’s event features a conversation with prominent leaders from education, government and the civic community to discuss findings from a recent study on the youth opportunity divide in Boston.

As part of the event, the Brookings Institute will share new research on the state of youth education and opportunity in the Boston area.  The new research finds that more than 1 in 6 young people (ages 18-24) in Boston are on the path to being shut out of today’s economy.  These young people are not in school and have no more than a high school diploma.  40% of this population is unemployed, while those in the workforce have limited earnings and career potential. 

With this research in mind, leaders from Microsoft, national non-profit City Year, and representatives from Cambridge Public Schools and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education will share ideas and provide examples about how they are addressing the unique challenges facing Boston area youths.

Microsoft will also provide details on its YouthSpark initiative, a three year commitment to help create 50 million opportunities for young people in the US.   The company will take time to highlight its ongoing work in the Boston area. 

Microsoft by the Numbers in the Greater Boston Area

  • YouthSpark represents a $500 million, 3 year commitment to expand education, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities for 300 million youth worldwide.
  • Microsoft donated more than $15m in software and other donations in Boston in 2012.
  • More than 650 Microsoft Massachusetts (MA) employees donated via the Giving Campaign
  • Since 2003, Microsoft and its employees have donated more than $121m to non-profits in the Commonwealth of MA.
  • Major Microsoft Boston-area donations:
    • $2m to Year Up Boston
    • $17m to the Boston Museum of Science
    • 1,224 Massachusetts nonprofits served by our programs

Check back on the Boston blog next week for highlights from today’s YouthSpark event.