The FINANCIAL — Microsoft Corp., in collaboration with the state of Texas, announced new programs and events to address the need for digital and technical skills in the workforce. The digital alliance is intended to create new economic opportunity, close equity and digital skills gaps, and prepare a workforce for the 21st century.
“The expansion of our Accelerate program to the state of Texas is an unparalleled opportunity to speed up the local economic recovery and bring critical digital skills to Texans,” said Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft U.S. “We hope this program will be a transformative opportunity for students, teachers, workers and the entire community.”
The effort, in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency, will provide digital skills through the Microsoft Accelerate initiative, designed to address economic recovery through skilling both underserved communities and re-skilling Americans impacted by COVID-19. In August, the company announced Accelerate: Houston and now continues its work in Texas with an expanded commitment statewide. The effort represents the continued implementation across the U.S. of Microsoft’s Global Skills Initiative, an ambitious plan to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills by the end of the year.
Other partners supporting the alliance include STEMuli, The Ion, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD), Bell, Big Thought, Stedman Graham and Associates, Tribute to Valor, National Math and Science Initiative, University of Houston College of Technology, Dallas Regional Chamber, and Irving Chamber of Commerce.
“Education was the launching pad that took me from a low-income Houston community to medical school, NASA, space and beyond,” said Dr. Bernard Harris, CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative and former NASA astronaut. “As a native Texan and lifelong STEM advocate, I’m grateful for Microsoft’s investment in this initiative. NMSI is committed to ensuring digital access, digital literacy and high-quality STEM content for all teachers and students across Texas and our great nation, and we’re excited to work with Microsoft, the TEA, DISD, NASA and other partners.”
Microsoft and the Texas Education Agency are collaborating on a range of digital skills programs across the state to address a variety of needs including STEM engagement and talent pipeline growth for students in K-12; professional development for K-16 educators, thought leaders and the education NGO ecosystem; and workforce development for high school and college students, as well as parents seeking opportunities to enhance their technical skills and business acumen.
“Closing the digital divide is critical to developing the current and future workforce. Our collaboration with Microsoft and the Texas Education Agency is a model for how to apply civic innovation to advance equity in our schools,” said Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of Dallas ISD. “Initiatives like Accelerate: Texas and Operation Connectivity are a direct investment in students that will open new pathways for innovation and future growth.”