A new skills program aimed at getting New Yorkers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and job displacement into in-demand, long-term jobs was launched this week.

Microsoft, along with local community, educational and business partners, announced the Accelerate: New York program, which will provide a pathway from skilling to employment for those in the tri-state area. It aims to bridge the digital skills divide and route people to diverse and equitable hiring and re-employment opportunities with free training and networking and employment opportunities.

Microsoft U.S. President Kate Johnson said alongside civic, learning and corporate partners, the company was “hopeful that the Accelerate program can help expand economic opportunity and provide the skills needed to support an inclusive, equitable recovery.”

The program will create a local pipeline of education providers and employers that give New Yorkers the chance to learn skills for high-demand jobs and support connection to hiring opportunities.

Community partners include The Business Council of New York State; Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; New York City Housing Authority; New York City Small Business Services; the New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and TechPACT.

The community partners will help mobilize the community and connect those who can benefit most from increased digital equity and opportunities to get back to work, Microsoft said in a statement.

Learning partners CanCode, General Assembly, Generation USA, NPower, SUNY Attain, Springboard, Upwardly Global and Year Up will help deliver the curriculum and provide tailored digital training for job seekers.

Corporate partners, including The Estée Lauder Companies and KPMG, have made commitments in hiring the newly skilled workforce.  And Microsoft is providing free courses across Microsoft Learn and LinkedIn, and working to help 250,000 companies make a skills-based hire this year with LinkedIn, the company said.

According to the company, expanding access to digital skills is a critical first step in improving employability to help build local economic recovery, especially for those hardest hit by job losses.

The Business Council of New York State President and CEO Heather C. Briccetti, said participating in the 21st century economy, regardless of industry, now required having a wide range of digital skills.

 “But high-quality digital skills training has not been accessible to many underserved communities, a challenge Microsoft’s Accelerate: New York will work to close the gap on,” she said.

“As the demand for these skills continues to be unrelenting, it is important that companies have a broad and diverse talent pool to recruit from.”

Sideya Sherman, executive vice president for community engagement and partnerships at NYCHA, said the authority commended Microsoft for taking concrete steps to provide NYCHA residents with the digital skills needed to take advantage of the employment opportunities.

“This initiative is a testament to the role that public-private partnerships can play in providing our residents with the career training, technical skills, and overall knowledge base needed to compete in a 21st century economy.”  

For more information or to sign up for free programs, click here.

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