Microsoft in partnership with 32 states, has offered in excess of 800,000 computer skills training vouchers designed to help unemployed and underskilled workers find jobs in the Unites States. Training and certification vouchers are provided free of charge through the Microsoft Elevate America voucher program.
At over two years since the initiative was introduced, Microsoft looked back at the impact of the program and provided the results in a report titled: "Elevate America's State Voucher Strategy to Promote Employability" available for download.
Andrea L. Taylor, on Microsoft on the Issues blog offered a few highlights from the company's findings:
- Program attracted individuals with post-secondary education: Nearly half of the voucher recipients had at least a two-year degree and 70% had some post-secondary education.
- Internet access affects success: Three factors coincided with higher activation rates of the vouchers: higher per capita Workforce Investment Act funding, a greater proportion of urban residents and a greater proportion of households with Internet access.
- Tailored assessments lead to implementation: Career-center based distribution of the vouchers served a greater proportion of unemployed workers - 70% compared to 57% who received vouchers electronically. However, career centers typically serve those with below-average technology abilities."
Conclusions from the evolution of Elevate America revealed that 39% of those who took advantage of the free training were in the 36-50 year-old age range, with women making up the majority of participants, no less than 54%.
[Source: Microsoft on the Issues]