August, 2012

  • Tropical Storm Isaac

    By Molly Bull, Senior Communications Manager, Microsoft Disaster Response

    Situation Analysis: August 29, 2012

    Recently downgraded to a Tropical Storm, many continue to watch and track the progress of Isaac, which made landfall Tuesday evening in the U.S. Gulf Coast.  At landfall the storm was a Category 1 hurricane causing heavy rains and reaching wind speeds of more than 80 mph.  The slow-moving storm has spilled over levees, flooded communities, and is causing wind damage as it slowly works its way further inland.

    Latest Information

    For more information please follow NBC News or visit our disaster incident portal where we’re closely tracking information coming in from FEMA and other sources to share information on relief activities and storm movement.

    Another great source of information is the American Red Cross’s Hurricane App. It provides great information about hurricanes, what to do immediately afterwards, and location-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) alerts. It will provide the information you need at your fingertips.

    How You Can Help

    Even before this hurricane made landfall, a lot of organizations were busy making preparations, gathering supplies, and educating people how to stay safe as the storm approached. Now that the hurricane has arrived, these organizations are on the front lines, providing direct relief to those who need it most.

    · AidMatrix – Working in Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Highlighting specific items being requested by relief organizations working in Louisiana.

    · American Red Cross – Providing ready-to-eat meals, setting up mobile kitchens, gathering supplies needed for relief efforts, among other activities.

    · Save the Children – Set up a Hurricane Isaac Emergency Fund to collect funds to help protect vulnerable children and provide relief to families.

  • Microsoft Partners with National Journal, The Atlantic for “Conversations with the Next Generation”

    Fred Humphries, Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft, posted to Microsoft on the Issues this morning about a partnership with National Journal and The Atlantic to host town halls at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions around issues facing America’s young and emerging workforce.
    Conversations with the Next Generation
    Humphries said:

    “This summer, the people of the United States will look to Charlotte and Tampa as political leaders from across the country gather to lay out their vision for the future. Younger voters in particular have a stake in the course that will be charted in each city. They remain a pivotal voting block for the candidate who will best address their issues and concerns regarding jobs, education, political accountability and how to face the nation’s biggest challenges.

    On August 29 and September 5, Microsoft, in partnership with National Journal and The Atlantic, will host Conversations with the Next Generation Town Halls at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, respectively, that will bring together our nation’s top leaders for a dialogue on the important issues facing America's young and emerging workforce.”

    To learn more about the town hall events, read his original post or register to attend here. And get more details about Microsoft’s role as an Official Innovation Provider for the national conventions and community partnerships in the Tampa Bay and Charlotte regions.

  • Microsoft Builds on Community Investment in Charlotte Region, Announces Partnership with 2012 Democratic National Convention

    By: Fred Humphries, Vice President for U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft

    Microsoft has been named an official innovation provider of the 2012 Democratic National Convention and Committee for Charlotte 2012. This new relationship builds on Microsoft’s long-term partnership with the City of Charlotte to help youth realize new opportunities through educational development and support.

    As an official innovation provider, Microsoft will streamline communications and enhance the convention experience for both convention organizers and participants through innovative, collaborative technology solutions like Office 365, consulting and support services, and – through our work with convention organizers and partner Interknowlogy – a touch-enabled Windows application that will allow convention delegates to cast floor votes on kiosks throughout the convention hall.

    By collaborating and innovating together, Microsoft and convention organizers are working to create an unforgettable 2012 convention experience. Microsoft has advanced new ideas and technologies that have transformed business, government and consumer experiences. We are excited to bring our solutions to the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Committee for Charlotte 2012.

    Long-Term Partnership with Charlotte

    At Microsoft, we’re committed to creating positive and lasting impacts in the communities in which we live and work. In Charlotte, our commitment is helping youth realize new opportunities.

    We know that science and technology are enormous drivers of innovation and job creation, but too many of our students are facing an opportunity divide – a growing gap between those who have the access, skills, and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Microsoft’s deep commitment to education and significant investments across the U.S. are aimed at closing that divide, with a focus on helping youth obtain the skills that they need while connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship.

    Our multi-year partnership with the people and organizations of the Charlotte region includes a range of training, education and community programs, such as the Microsoft IT Academy. The IT Academy, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, has increased the number of North Carolina high school students earning IT certifications from sixteen to over 30,000 in less than two school-years.

    Since 2003, the company has given charitable donations totaling more than $90.6 million including software donations in the state of North Carolina. Recently, Microsoft provided more than $2 million in software donations and support to local Charlotte region non-profits with a focus on helping youth bridge the opportunity divide by providing educational development and support, including:

    • Over $726,000 in software donations to the Urban League of the Central Carolinas, a non-partisan organization that focuses on youth, education, and economic development;
    • Approximately $718,000 to Child Care Resources, a non-profit child care resource and referral agency that works with families and communities to ensure that all children have access to high-quality, affordable early learning and school-age educational opportunities;
    • More than $410,000 in software donations to the Foundation for the Carolinas, a philanthropic organization that helps identify and meet community needs such as closing the educational achievement gap;
    • And over $149,000 in software donations and support to Charlotte WORKS, a public-private partnership that brings together area resources to educate, empower and engage Charlotte's workforce.

    Microsoft has also supported Mayor Foxx’s Youth Employment Program, sponsoring five youth jobs in the city that were funded by Microsoft. Earlier this year, Microsoft also partnered with the Mayor’s Youth Education Program to host more than 120 students from local high schools on the company’s Charlotte campus for a job shadowing and career exploration event. In addition, Microsoft has launched “Kinnecting After School,” a pilot program in partnership with the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NCCAP) which offers Xbox 360s and Kinect systems for use by afterschool programs across North Carolina.

    “As Mayor of Charlotte, I’m committed to making sure our young people have the skills they need to successfully pursue whatever career path they choose,” Mayor Anthony Foxx said. “To that end, I’m very grateful to Microsoft for their generous support of both my DNC youth employment legacy initiative and the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program. Together, we’re working to prepare Charlotte’s youth to enter the workforce and help provide them with a bright and prosperous future.”

    In addition to Microsoft’s education and community outreach work in Charlotte, Microsoft has teamed with the city and partner, Tribridge, to develop and implement a city-wide event permitting solution based on CRM Dynamics Online. This first-of-its-kind application will create enormous benefit for Charlotte in the near-term for convention-related events, but also in the long-term for the city’s future growth and development.

    Finally, Charlotte will be the scene of an important conversation in coming weeks about the challenges and opportunities facing youth. As part of Microsoft’s engagement in the 2012 national political conventions, we are partnering with National Journal and The Atlantic to host a “Conversations with the Next Generation” town hall as part of the activities at the Democratic National Convention. The discussion, which will be mirrored at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, will convene younger Americans and students for a dialogue on the critical issues they face as the next generation of leaders.

    We are excited that several Charlotte participants are among the panelists for this important discussion, including Johnson C. Smith University student Charles Hauser and Johnson C. Smith President Dr. Ronald Carter. They join other leaders including StudentsFirst Founder and CEO Michelle Rhee and Young Democrats President Rod Snyder, as well as event moderators such as NBC Special Correspondent Chelsea Clinton, and the National Journal’s Chris Frates. In addition, students from several North Carolina universities will participate in the town hall.

    Learn more about Microsoft’s work in Tampa and the Conversations with the Next Generation town hall events.

  • Back to School with Microsoft: Tampa Educators, Students to Benefit from New Digital Education Initiative with City, Hillsborough County Public Schools

    By Marietta Davis, General Manager, Greater Southeast District, Microsoft Corporation

    This past Saturday, Tampa hosted “Back to School with Microsoft,” a successful event that trained more than 500 local educators as part of our efforts to modernize in-classroom teaching with Microsoft technologies, boost students’ technology skills, and emphasize the value of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning in preparation for 21st century careers. The Back to School event marks the kick-off of an exciting new effort between Microsoft, the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) to implement a strategic digital education initiative across the region aimed at preparing local students for the opportunities of tomorrow’s economy.

    kelly with super and board members

    Microsoft’s Kelly Green joins Lake County School Board Member Jim Miller, Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, and School Board Member Carol Kurdell at the “Back to School” event.
    teachers in classroom - Kodu
    Local educator Stephanie Saez-Hamilton helps teachers learn how to use Kodu.

    At Microsoft, we know that science and technology are enormous drivers of innovation and job creation, but too many of our students are facing an opportunity divide – a growing gap between those who have the access, skills, and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Microsoft’s deep commitment to education and significant investments across the U.S. are aimed at closing that divide, with a focus on helping youth obtain the skills that they need while connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship. We’re thrilled to be working with the City of Tampa and HCPS to bring the best technologies to area educators in support of helping students realize their full potential.

    innovative tampa students group
    Students from The Center for Advanced Technologies, a Partners in Learning school, participated in the Saturday event and demonstrated their award winning, cutting-edge projects for Hillsborough County School attendees.

    Florida’s First School District-Wide IT Academy

    As part of this unique effort, HCPS is participating in Florida’s pilot implementation of the Microsoft IT Academy Program, which provides a complete IT education solution that bridges the world of education with the world of work in order to provide students with 21st century technology skills.

    Together with Microsoft and the Florida Department of Education, HCPS will rollout Microsoft IT Academy across its 27 high schools and 18 middle schools as a STEM-focused elective for students in the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.

    With the Microsoft IT Academy training, educators receive professional development enabling them to stay up-to-date on the latest Microsoft technologies and easily integrate these technologies into their existing curriculum and lesson plans to meet the individual learning needs of their students. What’s more, students will have access to hundreds of web-based e-learning courses and receive hands-on experiences with the latest Microsoft software and programs, giving them an edge to gaining job-ready skills and industry credentials while still in school. 

    Shaping Tampa’s Future

    This effort demonstrates our commitment to creating positive and lasting impacts in the communities in which we live and work. In the Tampa region, our commitment starts with helping youth realize new opportunities. Through Microsoft’s long-term work with the people and organizations of the Tampa Bay region, a number of training, education and community programs are beginning as well, including:

    • Microsoft’s DigiGirlz education program that will provide local middle and high school girls with the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. Over the past 12 years, DigiGirlz has reached 19,000 girls in more than 20 states and 17 countries.
    • A pilot program that will feature the use of Kinect consoles in a dozen HCPS classrooms which will establish the use of interactive, gesture-based learning.
    • Microsoft's Kodu programming/game-development technology will be incorporated into the HCPS curriculum, helping students to develop IT skills by creating games on the PC and Xbox using the simple, visual programming language designed for use by children.

    In addition to Microsoft’s work with Tampa on these education and community outreach initiatives, Microsoft has also worked with the city on a variety of other programs aimed at making a real impact in the region. Notably, Microsoft recently teamed up with the Tampa Police Department on a jointly funded public safety initiative aimed at modernizing the department’s systems used for crime analysis, reporting and reduction, which included an investment in Microsoft SharePoint and SQL Server technologies.

    Microsoft has also joined the board of the Tampa Bay Partnership, a public-private organization supporting economic growth and development in the region, and recently made a $25,000 commitment to the organization and its programs.

    Youth Engagement at National Political Conventions

    Later this summer, Microsoft will continue its focus on youth engagement in the Tampa area through a partnership with National Journal and The Atlantic to host a “Conversations with the Next Generation” town hall as part of the activities at the Republican National Convention. The discussion, which will be mirrored at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, will convene younger Americans and students for a dialogue on the critical issues they face as the next generation of leaders. Learn more about the town hall events here.

  • Celebrating International Youth Day

    By Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director, Microsoft Corporate Citizenship

    Since 1999, the United Nations has been celebrating International Youth Day, taking a moment each year to focus the world’s attention on one of the most important segments of the population. Celebrated on August 12, this year’s International Youth Day theme is focused on “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth” and is closely aligned with Microsoft’s commitment to closing the opportunity divide among young people. As part of this year’s Youth Day theme, the United Nations is calling for further attention and feedback on priority areas of the Secretary-General’s Five-Year Action Agenda. These areas include employment, entrepreneurship, education, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights. Earlier this year, the International Youth Foundation released the Opportunity for Action report, commissioned by Microsoft, which addresses a large portion of these priority issues.

    At a time when we have more young people – 1.2 billion – than at any time in the planet’s history, there’s an urgent need to provide them with the education, skills and employment opportunities they need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing global economy. The Opportunity for Action report reveals that nearly 75 million young people around the world are unemployed, and currently only 44 percent of youth worldwide pursue education as far as the equivalent of the high school level in the United States. In addition, the global unemployment rate for young people is currently 12.7 percent - more than double global average for unemployment as a whole. While some youth are prospering, many others who lack access to education, skills and opportunities, face growing challenges. As the global youth population grows over time, the gap risks widening even further between those with opportunity and those without.

    As the United Nations continues to gather information and feedback from this year’s event with the goal of building out a critical UN System Wide Action Plan on Youth, Microsoft will continue to build on the momentum gained from the Innovate4Good event series earlier this year. Innovate4Good@Microsoft is a series of global events focused on helping youth realize their opportunity in the world, whether they aspire to reach higher levels of education, start or grow their career, become an entrepreneur or generate social good. The events bring young people together to collaborate, inspire and support each other and to discover how others have used Microsoft technology and programs to do amazing things.

    From March to June, we hosted six Innovate4Good events around the globe in Redmond, Washington; Egypt; Belgium; Singapore; China; and Mexico. Each of which had more than 100 youth leaders and change-makers participating. Regardless of the geography, we found youth around the globe were consistently facing similar challenges with an inspiring amount of energy and optimism. These challenges are very much aligned with the United Nations emphasis on employment, entrepreneurship, education, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights. Many youth in attendance had already become successful in their efforts to create a business or start a social enterprise and were able to inspire their peers on how to not only help themselves, but to do so in a way that also helps others.

    clip_image001

    Participants at the Innovate4Good@Microsoft event in Singapore.

    At Microsoft, we know the opportunity divide between youth who have the access, skills and resources to succeed and those who don’t is real and we need new and innovative ways to bridge this divide. Creating a movement of youth change-makers through the Innovate4Good event series is part of our commitment to bridge this divide and create an opportunity dividend.

    Innovate4Good@Microsoft is one step we are taking towards “Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth”, and we are proud to help the United Nations celebrate International Youth Day.

    How do you plan to make a difference?

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