Microsoft to Provide Computer Literacy Training To More Than 250,000 Seniors by the Year 2000

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 1, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it made a grant worth more than $1 million to SeniorNet, a nonprofit organization that provides older adults with education and access to computer technology and the Internet. The grant will provide Microsoft® products – including the Windows® 98 operating system, Microsoft Office and Microsoft publications – computer equipment and cash to support and expand SeniorNet’s network of 140 computer learning centers nationwide.

“Microsoft recognizes the positive impact that computers have on people’s lives, enhancing their creativity, sense of community and employability,”
said Craig Spiezle, director of the Microsoft Senior Initiative, a program that aims to bridge the
“digital divide”
and ensure that older adults are not left on the shoulder of the information highway.
“Our commitment to SeniorNet also helps the Microsoft Senior Initiative achieve its goal of providing access and PC literacy training to over 250,000 older adults by the year 2000.”

The grant is a continuation of Microsoft’s decadelong commitment of working with SeniorNet, a relationship that has helped SeniorNet train 100,000 people to use computers and the Internet and that so far includes grants from Microsoft totaling more than $2 million in software, cash, equipment and training.

SeniorNet’s mission is to empower older adults around the country to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom with the world. The Microsoft grant will provide SeniorNet with resources and equipment needed to upgrade the facilities at its 140 learning centers and to grow by at least 60 learning centers, half of which will be located in underserved and rural communities, in the next year.

“Our long-standing relationship with Microsoft has grown considerably to continue providing older adults with the access they need to stay engaged in a society that has been changed forever by technology,”
said Ann Wrixon, executive director of SeniorNet.
“This grant will be instrumental in helping us continue our efforts to promote computer literacy, especially in underserved communities. By working together on these programs, as well as joint research studies, we’re ensuring that computers and software are accessible to users of all ages.”

SeniorNet’s computer training programs and the Microsoft Senior Initiative provide older adults with the computer skills and technology they need to get jobs, communicate with friends and family, express their creativity in new ways, gain independence and become self-sufficient. SeniorNet’s PC literacy training courses include many success stories, from helping a retired bookkeeper learn the skills she needed to obtain a job and become self-sufficient to retraining recent retirees to enter the information technology industry to teaching a grandmother how to create her own Web site and display pictures of her grandchildren.

“SeniorNet provided me with the computer skills I needed to compete for and get the job I wanted,”
said Barbara Jacobs, a formerly retired resident of Florida and graduate of SeniorNet’s classes.
“My job allows me the financial independence I needed and enables me to continue to gain satisfaction from my work.”

The Microsoft grant to SeniorNet includes Microsoft product libraries such as Windows 98, Microsoft Office, the Microsoft Encarta® 99 multimedia encyclopedia, Microsoft Money Financial Suite 99, Microsoft Greetings Workshop, the Microsoft IntelliMouse® pointing device and Natural® Elite Keyboards. To further support this program, Microsoft will provide in-depth training to SeniorNet trainers leading to Microsoft Office User Specialist certification. In addition, each learning center will receive a comprehensive library of Microsoft Press® curriculums and reference publications.

As technology continues to transform the way we communicate, learn and do business, it is important that people not be left behind on the information highway. Microsoft recognizes that seniors, in particular, are in danger of being left behind. Only 21 percent of seniors own PCs and only 8.8 percent are connected to the Internet, according to a Department of Commerce study by the National Telecommunications Information Administration released in July 1998. For additional information on this study, please visit .

The Microsoft Senior Initiative is a worldwide program aimed at bridging the
“digital divide”
between those who are computer literate and those who aren’t by providing access to technology and tools for PC literacy training to people worldwide.

SeniorNet is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. It was founded in 1986 as a small research project and has grown into an international organization with more than 25,000 members.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows, Encarta, IntelliMouse, Natural and Microsoft Press are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information about the Microsoft Senior Initiative or SeniorNet, please visit the Microsoft Senior Initiative Web page or the SeniorNet Web page at . If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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