Last week, the City of Houston and Microsoft announced an expansion of their digital alliance and with it a new initiative to create economic opportunity, close equity and skills gaps and prepare the region’s workforce for the 21st century.
The new “Accelerate” program is part of Microsoft's Global Skills Initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills by the close of the year, announced earlier this summer. It comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the fundamental change in the education and skills needed to be successful in the workforce and laid bare a digital divide among workers and students.
Accelerate: Houston will provide programs to help transitioning workers and veterans upskill, reskill and enhance their digital skills and prepare for opportunities in new technologies. It will provide K-12 schools with technology content and industry certifications mapped to student skill development. And the program will offer digital literacy training and modern workplace training for educators.
UpSkill Houston is among the civic, corporate and education partners supporting this new initiative. Houston ISD schools will participate in the program and work with Microsoft to develop curriculum this school year.
"Our students are going to learn skills that will help them for a lifetime," Dr. Grenita Lathan, HISD interim superintendent and member of UpSkill Houston's executive committee, said during a program press conference.
Having strong digital skills is becoming increasingly necessary for all workers, regardless of their industry, occupation or education level, and we must ensure that all workers have the access needed to enhance their existing skills. Accelerate: Houston will expand access to in-demand digital skills, helping all Houstonians prepare for and connect with good jobs that increase their economic opportunity and prosperity.
(Image credit: City of Houston)