Lightfoot and Microsoft Partner to Provide Digital Skills Training to Over 300,000 Chicagoans


Mayor Lori Lightfoot partners with Microsoft Corp. to help more than 300,000 Chicagoans acquire the digital skills needed to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

The program, Accelerate Chicago, will offer free online courses, skills certifications, and career opportunities to Chicagoans looking to build their CVs and land a job in the modern workplace.

“We have focused on identifying and pursuing initiatives that will uplift our residents and ensure a fair post-pandemic recovery for our city,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press release.

“Bridging the digital divide and creating sustainable, well-paying jobs that people can benefit from are necessary steps we must take in order to meet this obligation. ”

Launched on Friday, the program hopes to equip workers with the digital skills needed to find jobs and succeed in all industries. Job seekers and motivated workers can learn basic computer skills that are now essential for jobs in construction, service and office work. Participants can also attend learning sessions on topics ranging from data analytics to digital marketing.

Microsoft is partnering with professional networking platform LinkedIn to deliver the courses, and the program will offer virtual career fairs to help attendees land jobs.

As millions of Americans relied on online platforms to work from home during the pandemic, basic computer skills have become even more important in an already digital world.

“While digital transformation in businesses has been well underway for years, the pandemic has accelerated this growth towards digitally-driven solutions and platforms,” said Michael Fassnacht, president of World Business Chicago. “The digital divide for many of our residents has deepened, especially over the past 18 months. That’s why it’s so exciting that Microsoft’s Accelerate Chicago program is helping bridge the digital skills gap in communities often overlooked by technological advancement.

The program will pay particular attention to addressing racial inequalities in access to digital education and hopes to promote diverse and fair hiring practices. With the help of community partners such as Chicago Westside NAACP and the MxD Digital Manufacturing Institute, the program aims to help people in underserved communities gain valuable workplace skills.

“The Accelerate program expands economic opportunities and provides the skills necessary to support an inclusive and equitable recovery,” Microsoft US President Deb Cupp said in the statement. “We are proud to work with our civic, learning and corporate partners to bring this program to Chicago. “

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