Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) reported their new program to address economic recovery through underserved communities and equipping Americans that are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and improving their digital skills. Atlanta is the first push in Microsoft’s global skills initiative. The plan aims to help 25 million people worldwide by equipping them with digital skills by the end of the year. This plan will help Atlantans that are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including racial inequities in access to education. The need for digital skills is more important than ever as the world is still taking precautions during the pandemic, forcing many companies and jobs out of work.
“Through Accelerate: Atlanta, Microsoft and its partners will help close the digital divide and ensure there is a place for everyone in our shared future,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “The road to economic recovery must begin with pathways to opportunity that are inclusionary and accessible to all. This is more than an initiative — this is an investment in underserved and underrepresented communities that will equip our residents with skills to compete in a modern workforce, while at the same time grow our middle class.”
“Atlanta is the first U.S. city in our ambitious national investment plan to support our country’s economic recovery,” said Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft U.S. “We’re delighted that we can bring the breadth of the Microsoft technology ecosystem in partnership with the mayor to provide communities in Atlanta with the digital skills needed for a more equitable, prosperous future.”
“We’re committed to equipping more communities with the digital skills needed to come back from this crisis even stronger through our work with Microsoft,” said Jake Schwartz, CEO and co-founder at General Assembly. “We’ve been proud to be a part of Atlanta’s thriving tech, startup and innovation ecosystem for years, and are thrilled to continue our investment in the community while advancing this important national partnership with the launch of Accelerate: Atlanta.”
“Microsoft shares our commitment to serving underrepresented communities with equity, access and opportunity. We are thrilled to align our mission of ‘breaking the cycle of generational poverty through the innovative use of technology’ with Microsoft and the Atlanta community to close the digital divide, creating real opportunities for those who need it most,” said Nicole Armstrong, CEO of TechBridge.
“I applaud Microsoft and the many partners working to make Accelerate: Atlanta a success. Our region is uniquely situated to benefit from this initiative through our dense innovation community coupled with the presence of noted higher education institutions training our brightest minds,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick. “I am excited to see the progress as Accelerate: Atlanta closes the digital divide and equips the next generation with the in-demand skills needed to succeed.”
“Accenture is committed to advancing equality for all people all the time, and to doing more to drive sustained change in our communities,” said Jimmy Etheredge, Accenture’s CEO for North America. “We are pleased to join Microsoft and our coalition partners in Atlanta to equip more of our citizens with the digital skills they need to be prepared for the jobs of the future — and we look forward to extending the impact of this initiative across the United States.”