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SF Goodwill and Microsoft Join Forces to Bridge Digital Divide and Create Career Pathways
for People with Barriers to Employment.
Innovative collaboration brings digital skills training access to those who have been left behind and left out
of today’s tech-driven economy.
San Francisco, CA—August 28, 2018— Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties, and Microsoft are announcing the launch of a new partnership, designed to narrow the digital skills gap and help people struggling to gain a foothold in the job market attain the skills necessary to compete in today’s tech-propelled job market.
The partnership evolved through the mutual recognition that the digital divide in the Bay Area is widening, and the two organizations are uniquely positioned to address it—and by working together, the impact can be profound.
The iconic technology company has made a generous grant to provide Goodwill with software business tools that will give the 100-year old social enterprise the capacity to both upgrade its internal systems and offer leading-edge software training to its job seekers. Goodwill will implement Microsoft’s donation of software and training at its Career Center in the Mission, and beginning in 2019, at its new headquarters in the Tenderloin, which will feature a Microsoft MakersSpace.
This donation comes at a critical juncture for Goodwill trainees and job seekers, most of whom are unemployed or underemployed. The digital divide in the Bay Area is growing, and the training and support Goodwill provides is a proven way to close the digital equity gap by increasing digital literacy and skills to prepare people for the 21st century job market.
In addition, Goodwill and Microsoft recognize that in today’s Bay Area economy, entry-level jobs often do not provide a living wage. Therefore, this innovative partnership will offer an extensive range of tools and training curriculum that will not only help job seekers break into the workforce, but also develop a career pathway.
“Today, almost all jobs require a proficiency in digital skills,” said William Rogers, President and CEO of Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. “Microsoft’s generous support of our mission and expertise gives us the ability to upskill and reskill people in need of a second chance – who are looking for their first job or their first job in a long time.”
“Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” said Jason Ford, General Manager of Microsoft Corporation’s Northwest Region. “Goodwill serves a community of people that can have great impact on society, so we want to ensure that the Goodwill team is empowered to provide the best education, training and curriculum. Our Microsoft/Goodwill partnership will build a crucial piece in evening the playing field for communities that often feel left behind.”
The scope of the grant falls into three categories:
1. Software upgrade: The grant provides Goodwill with premium software to update its systems to increase efficiency, strengthen its IT infrastructure, move key functions to the cloud and overhaul its operating system and servers, so Goodwill can better deliver high-level, relevant digital skills training to job seekers.
2. Design consultation: Goodwill’s new headquarters in the Tenderloin will include a comprehensive training center, for both Goodwill employees and the community. The centerpiece of the center will be the Microsoft MakersSpace, a state-of-the-art ideation studio that encourages people to innovate, explore and experiment with an array of bleeding edge tools, equipment and technology.
3.Microsoft software curriculum funding: Goodwill job seekers will have the benefit of learning on the most cutting-edge digital software platforms on the market. Microsoft’s grant includes both software (such as productivity and business analytic tools, along with computer basics) and programmatic support. Goodwill and Microsoft will test pilot programs — a mobile learning lab and business analytics training — that will expand Goodwill’s digital footprint and training opportunities.
The scope of this partnership, and shared goal of achieving digital equity, will significantly increase Goodwill’s capability to help more people bridge the digital divide and guide job seekers to the next level—a career pathway that will lead to skilled, meaningful, higher paying jobs.
Since 1916, Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties has been committed to ending the generational cycle of poverty by giving tens of thousands of local people with barriers to employment a second chance. Goodwill is an innovative nonprofit social enterprise that each year trains thousands of people, with histories of unemployment or underemployment, and places them in jobs, either with Goodwill or with one of its hundreds of business partners. Goodwill is equally committed to environmental sustainability. It prepares job seekers for 21st-century jobs that are environmentally conscious, and trains its staff in best practices for diverting millions of pounds of goods every year from local landfills.
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