YouthSpark, launched two years ago this month to provide opportunities to 300 million young people around the world and specifically the technical skills and education that experts say youth need to get jobs and start businesses. In an effort to reach even more young people, Microsoft today announced:
· The TEALS program (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools) is doubling its reach in the U.S. This year, TEALS is placing software engineers as volunteer computer science teachers in 131 high schools across 18 states plus Washington, D.C. This is an increase from 70 schools in 12 states last year. The program’s expansion is an effort to meet the rising demand for computer science education.
· The popular YouthSpark Summer Camps at Microsoft retail stores won’t end this fall. Across all full-line Microsoft Stores in the United States and Canada, YouthSpark Summer Camps are expanding to a full school year program of field trips for K-12 students.
· To celebrate and support young innovators around the world, Microsoft is launching Imagine Cup 2015, the worldwide student technology contest. Students ages 16 and older are invited to register for the Imagine Cup 2015 season and learn about the many opportunities to compete throughout the year.
· And for the millions of youth around the world that still face a digital divide, Microsoft is expanding its Digital Literacy Curriculum to 10 more languages to increase youth access to the basic technology skills they’ll need to help cross the opportunity divide.
Joshua Uwadiae from the UK got a second chance when he enrolled in an apprenticeship program and went from being a high school dropout to an IT manager with a promising future. Joshua’s story, and the stories of other “YouthSpark Stars” underscore the program’s impact but also the movement that is being made to address the youth unemployment gap.