China isn’t the only country during these troubled times that is looking for creative solutions for how to prepare its workforce for modern, technology-enabled jobs. At the US National Governor’s Association meeting this past Sunday in Washington DC, my colleague Pamela Passman (above) announced a new skills training program called Elevate America. You can find a transcript of Pamela’s remarks here along with the press release and a short video of Pamela announcing the program here.

Among other things, the new program provides one million free training vouchers for Americans to learn new technology skills. It is a big deal and will be coordinated in partnership with state governments, and so far the states of Washington, New York, and Florida have signed up to participate.

Key components of the program include:

  • Expanded access to basic technology literacy and skills training
  • Basic-level information technology training resources through Microsoft Unlimited Potential and Digital Literacy curricula
  • Intermediate technology skills training courses, online and instructor-led, plus selected certification exams
  • Vouchers for eLearning course collections offered by Microsoft
  • Vouchers for certification exams leading to Microsoft business certification
  • Grants of cash and software to community partners to build in-classroom training capacity
  • Discounted membership rates for institutions participating in the Microsoft IT Academy program
  • Access to a new Web portal that will help guide individuals to training and resources that position them for success in the economy today, and tomorrow

So much of our energy with Unlimited Potential is focused on people in emerging markets that it is easy to overlook the fact that there are people in developed market countries who are underserved by technology as well. Our themes of transforming education, local innovation, and enabling jobs and opportunity are as relevant in the US and Europe as they are in the rest of the world.