Microsoft recently tied up with Markle Foundation to create more jobs for Americans. The pair announced a three-year partnership to expand Markle’s Skillful initiative, a data-driven approach which connects American workers with potential employers. By connecting key players across the labor market — employers, state and federal governments, LinkedIn, educators, and workforce centers — Skillful will help American workers upgrade themselves in the digital economy.
According to Denver Post, Microsoft Philanthropies will invest $25.8 million into Skillful as part of the partnership with the Markle. With the donation, Microsoft and the Markle Foundation hope to expand the program in Colorado and then replicate it across the country.
According to research, seven out of 10 Americans have transferable skills, but not a four-year college degree. The initiative by Skillful will address that gap. Starting by expanding throughout Colorado and then moving to additional states, the partnership will be able to create a skills-based labor market model, which can be replicated across the United States to help millions of Americans get into better-paying jobs.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is excited about this initiative. He said that Skillful has helped jobseekers in Colorado develop the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly tech-driven workplace and helped employers connect with these talented job seekers. Microsoft’s investment will bring these benefits to even more workers and companies across the state, he said.
“Together, we can provide opportunity for income growth and career satisfaction for every Coloradan. I look forward to seeing Skillful serve as a model for the rest of the country,” the governor said.
Addressing the job issue, said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, said that there are 7.3 million fewer jobs in the United States today for people with a high school degree or less than there were in 1989. At the same time, six million jobs in our country go unfilled due in large part to a shortage of skilled workers. “This mismatch is leaving workers on the sidelines and employers without the talent they need to run their operations,” he said.
Zoë Baird, CEO and president of the Markle Foundation, pointed to the fact that millions of Americans don’t have the information, tools or skills needed to succeed in the digital economy. “We urgently need to transform the labor market so everyone can compete with equal dignity for today’s jobs,” Baird said.
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