Posted by Pamela Passman Corporate Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs
With unemployment at 7.6% in January and thousands of additional layoffs since then, the economy and jobs are the key issues here at the National Governors Association meetings in DC this weekend.
During a panel discussion about transforming America’s workforce, I announced a new Microsoft initiative called Elevate America that is designed to give state and local governments the tools and resources they need to provide no-cost or low-cost technology skills training to help get people back to work. Several states, including Florida, New York and Washington have already partnered with us to make Elevate America available to their citizens.
You can view the complete panel discussion on Transforming the Workforce System here (my comments start at 17:50).
Elevate America will also provide individual workers with a new web portal that will help guide them to free training and resources, available immediately, that can help position them for success in the economy today, and tomorrow.
More than 50 percent of today’s jobs require some technology skills, and experts say that percentage will increase to 77 percent in the next decade. It’s not just scientists and engineers that need technical skills. Jobs in every industry at every level need basic proficiency with computers and other digital technologies. By providing workers and governments with free and low-cost access to technology training and certifications, Elevate America can help workers succeed in this rapidly changing economy. The recently-signed economic stimulus bill will provide some federal support to enhance workforce development. As we have said before, government cannot and should not do it all. It is essential that the private sector and government work together in partnership to strengthen America’s workforce.