2011 will mark an important year for the Microsoft Community Technology Skills Program (CTSP) in Mexico. In collaboration with several local NGOs, the country’s team is busy creating nine Community Technology Centers (CTCs) to help improve job opportunities and increase productivity for more than 11,000 people in underserved communities in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Distrito Federal, Estado de Mexico, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Puebla. This adds to the already existing 125 Microsoft-supported CTs in the country.

This collaborative project kicked off in September with a workshop led by Microsoft Mexico, where Fundemex a CTSP nonprofit partner-- and representatives from organizations that benefit from the CTSP program participated in laying the groundwork for the creation of the centers. This project was unique and created a working model that will ensure that centers comply with the shared goals of partners and make a meaningful use of technology to provide assistance to deserving communities.

In October, Microsoft and Fundemex announced the grant recipients. In addition, Microsoft Mexico’s general manager, Juan Alberto González Esparza, shared news about a company donation of 1 million pesos in funding, software and digital literacy courses to support the project.

Building the centers will create a much needed community resource in the seven selected states. NGOs are critical partners in helping to reach people who need technology training the most, but don’t have the opportunity to participate or benefit from other programs, especially in hard-to-reach border towns.

Alejandro Ramírez from “Fundación Ayú”, one of the organizations who will create a CTC, best describes the impact of technology in helping communities: “social development is key for improved opportunities for families and neighborhoods and skills training are essential for helping them realize their potential.”

Ramírez adds that Microsoft’s easy to use products not only help build technology skills, but also help provide tools so that rural communities like the ones they serve can promote and sell the products they create.

We are very excited to follow this project through completion and will provide updates on progress and achievements.

Karla Solís, is a Marketing Specialist and Community Affairs Coordinator at Microsoft Mexico

Note: Spanish version of this post.