Colorado’s Outstanding Older Worker Wins First Microsoft Technology Award for Seniors

REDMOND, Wash., March 25, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. last night named Carlyne M. Orr, Colorado’s Outstanding Older Worker, as the winner of the first Microsoft Technology Award for older Americans. Orr, 73, of Lakewood, Colo., was given the award because her knowledge and use of technology have significantly affected her life, enhancing her employability, independence and family life.

“Computers make me invaluable as an employee,” Orr said. “Even at 73, I can compete with anyone of any age because I have PC knowledge. We’re losing too many valuable people with good work ethics because they don’t know how to use a computer. I’m thrilled to accept this award from Microsoft and bring technology to seniors in my state so they too can train for re-employment.”

“Carlyne’s ability to master technology later in life for continued employability after retirement age makes her a wonderful example of the benefits of technology for people of all ages,” said Craig Spiezle, director of the Microsoft® Senior Initiative. “Carlyne said it best herself when she told me, ‘The first question an employer asks is, Do you know how to use a computer?, and your answer better be YES.'”

Following a debilitating head injury in 1980 that left her unable to walk or talk, Orr was forced to give up her greeting card company and enter Social Security’s disability program. After 10 years of rehabilitation, at the age of 63, she re-entered the work force when most people leave it. Orr started work with the USDA Forest Fiscal Team in 1990 at the age of 64. She works a minimum 32-hour week dealing with advanced software systems that account for millions of dollars annually and resolve questionable payments. She received special training under the Department of Labor’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which enabled her to meet the technological challenges of the position. It was through her employer that Orr was nominated to be named by Green Thumb as Colorado’s Outstanding Older Worker.

“I think it’s great that Carlyne’s distinguished service has been recognized by her employer as well as Green Thumb and Microsoft. She sets a wonderful example for Colorado workers of any age and demonstrates that you’re never too old to learn new things or share your knowledge,” said Orr’s congressman, U.S. Representative Thomas Tancredo, Republican from the Sixth District. “By providing a computer training center and curriculum specifically for seniors in Colorado, Microsoft will allow more seniors to acquire computer knowledge so they too can let technology enhance their lives.”

Microsoft, Green Thumb Recognize Seniors

Orr wins a computer and a Microsoft product library. In addition, in her honor, Microsoft will create a computer center for Colorado senior citizens that is equipped with 10 state-of-the-art Dell multimedia computers and a Microsoft product library. The center will enable seniors to gain skills that prepare them for the 21st century work force as well as share their knowledge and experiences with their families and communities.

Microsoft and Green Thumb formed a strategic alliance in 1997 to deliver information technology training to older workers to enhance their employability. This alliance furthers the goals of the Microsoft Senior Initiative, which is aimed at bridging the “digital divide” by providing seniors with access to technology and technology training. Green Thumb bestows its Prime Time Awards recognizing the Outstanding Older Worker in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Microsoft Technology Award is given to one of these 52 outstanding older American workers.

The Microsoft Technology Award includes 11 Dell computers with 17-inch monitors and a library of Microsoft products. Each computer will also include a Microsoft product library of the Windows® 98 operating system, Microsoft Plus 98, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Encarta® Africana multimedia encyclopedia, Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, Microsoft Natural® Keyboard Elite, the Microsoft IntelliMouse® Pro pointing device, Microsoft Works Suite 99 and a selection of Microsoft Press® training materials.

The Microsoft Senior Initiative is a program aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring that seniors are not left behind on the information superhighway. By providing access to information technology and PC literacy training, the Microsoft Senior Initiative is introducing the exciting possibilities of technology to senior citizens. The Seniors and Technology Web site is a resource for seniors, their families and communities about the exciting possibilities that can be realized through the use of technology.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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, Natural, IntelliMouse 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: For additional information about Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. For additional information about Green Thumb, please visit the Green Thumb Web page at http://www.greenthumb.org/ .

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Colorado Worker Wins Microsoft Technology Award for Seniors

Microsoft will establish a computer center for Colorado seniors to honor Carlyne Orr, a 73-year-old Forest Service employee who overcame a serious head injury to learn computer skills and win the first-ever Microsoft Technology Award for older workers.