(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced a wide-ranging strategic alliance with Microsoft Corporation that will bring increased technology access and computer-skills training to District residents, provide new resources for teachers and students and implement development initiatives aimed at helping District-based small businesses.
“We operate in a 21st-century economy, and the demand for digital skills has never been higher,” said Mayor Gray. “This strategic relationship between the District government and Microsoft is an important step towards helping our citizens expand their employment opportunities and providing pioneering technology to our classrooms – paving the way for future generations of District residents with the technological skills that will make them attractive to employers.”
As part of the first-in-the-nation Digital Alliance, the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) will provide training on basic technology tools to help ensure that participating residents can develop the digital skills required for many of today’s entry-level jobs. Additionally, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) will partner with Microsoft to provide District teachers with increased access to technology resources to bolster their ability to teach vital technological skills to students.
Economic Impact and Job Creation
The Digital Alliance will initially focus on two aspects of job creation within the District: workforce development and capacity building for District-based small businesses. DOES will identify candidates with gaps in digital literacy and close those gaps by exposing residents to digital basics through Microsoft’s Digital Literacy Curriculum. DOES and Microsoft will also provide residents with training on Microsoft productivity software. Upon completion of a training program, many residents will receive a certificate of technology proficiency that can be added to their résumés.
Microsoft will also provide significant partner support and engagement as well as $100,000 in business-development resources to 10 local Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs). These D.C.-based firms will receive access to Microsoft product groups, technical training, sales-pipeline support, marketing strategy and material development services. Such investments, usually reserved for larger organizations, can significantly help District CBEs accelerate the growth of their businesses. Additional background on the District’s CBE program can be found here.
For D.C. educators and students, the D.C.-Microsoft Digital Alliance will provide resources to bolster professional development for educators and broaden access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning opportunities across the District. Working with the Office of the DCPS Chancellor and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, the relationship will have two core components at the start.
For Educators, the District will work with Microsoft to implement and host the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Program, a two-day seminar for educators focused on the integration of technology into classroom teaching and learning scenarios. The first-wave MIE session for District educators will be held this spring at Howard University.
Students will also gain exposure to the growing career opportunities in STEM fields as part of the alliance. Hundreds of local students will attend technology-exposure events such as Microsoft DigiGirlz days and Minority Student Days – where they’ll have the chance to take on technology challenges through small-group work, interact with Microsoft executives and learn more about technology-related careers.
“By combining the numerous digital and training assets of Microsoft with the infrastructure of targeted programs of the District of Columbia, this relationship will empower more D.C. residents and organizations to realize their full potential,” said Fred Humphries, Microsoft Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs. “Microsoft is excited to support Mayor Gray in his mission to create more economic opportunity and excite more students about technology here in the District.”
To learn more about the services offered as part of this unique partnership, visit http://www.microsoft.com/government/en-us/news/Digital Alliance.aspx.