ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 24, 1997 — Green Thumb, a national nonprofit organization, and Microsoft Corp. have joined forces to address the growing information technology (IT) work force shortage by recruiting and training older individuals for IT careers. The effort is part of the Microsoft® Skills 2000 initiative aimed at bringing new people into the industry and keeping existing IT professionals up to date on technology.
Green Thumb has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and the project will initially operate in three cities (Sacramento, Calif.; Baltimore and Austin, Texas) to provide low-income individuals age 55 and older with IT training, job counseling, placement and support services. Green Thumb also will work with local companies to place trained seniors in positions such as software developer, support specialist and network administrator. To help provide customized training at a reasonable price, Microsoft will donate the courseware to the Authorized Technical Education Centers (ATECs) that will be providing the training.
“The pilot project with mature workers is our first step,” said Andrea J. Wooten, president of Green Thumb. “Microsoft and Green Thumb intend to replicate the project nationwide and expand it to serve welfare participants, dislocated workers and other people with special needs.”
Critical Work Force Shortage of Skilled IT Professionals
Today, according to the Information Technology Association of America, 190,000 IT jobs are vacant in mid-size and large U.S. companies. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently estimated that in the next seven years, U.S. companies will require more than 1 million new IT workers.
“I retired a few years ago from small business consulting and started on a determined course to become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Trainer. At age 72 it was a challenge, but the excellent training companies and the focused Microsoft courses allowed me to reach my goal in less than a year,” said Scott Bird, independent Authorized Technical Education Center trainer. “In just a few months I have earned back all my training costs, but more importantly I am able to teach and ‘fire up’ my students to the exploding opportunities and rewards in information technology. What an opportunity this is for the growing numbers of early and restless retirees. If I can do it, they certainly can.”
“Our goal with the Microsoft Skills 2000 initiative and our joint project with Green Thumb is to bring new individuals into the computer industry,” said Nancy Lewis, general manager of worldwide training and certification at Microsoft. “One of the challenges in recruiting new people is dispelling the myth that IT careers are only for the young. We’re excited about increasing awareness of the tremendous opportunities available to people of all ages and backgrounds.”
For More Information
Call Green Thumb at (800) 842-6553 for more information on how to qualify for training. More information on Microsoft training and certification programs is available at http://www.microsoft.com/trainingandservices/default.asp?PageID=training & SubSite=itcr .
Green Thumb’s mission is to strengthen families, communities and the nation by providing older and disadvantaged individuals with opportunities to learn, work and serve others. Founded in 1965, Green Thumb is best known as America’s oldest and largest provider of mature worker employment and training services. The organization has expanded its services to bring work force opportunities to more than 40,000 mature workers, dislocated workers, welfare participants and adults with special needs in 44 states and Puerto Rico.
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