Microsoft Grants to Provide Technology Access to Latino Communities

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 6, 1999 — Although technology offers tremendous opportunities for education and career development, the Latino community is struggling to keep pace with the technological revolution. According to a recent U.S. Department of Commerce report, Latino households are roughly half as likely to own a computer as Anglo households, and 40 percent as likely to use the Internet.

To help Latino communities bridge this “digital divide,” Microsoft today announced over $1 million in cash and software grants to non-profit organizations that provide technology access, education and training for Latino communities throughout the United States.

To announce the grants, Microsoft’s Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of sales and support for the Americas and South Pacific region, today joined San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown at Arriba Juntos, a technology training and job placement facility in San Francisco’s Mission District. The facility, operated by Digital Mission, received a $91,000 cash and software grant through Microsoft’s Connected Learning Community program.

“Today, Microsoft provides another example of the outstanding city-private partnerships necessary to ensure that Mission residents benefit from San Francisco’s high-tech boom,” said Brown.

In addition to Digital Mission, two other non-profit organizations today received grants that will bring technology skills and career opportunities to Latino communities: the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities received $300,000 in cash and over $1 million in software that will increase technology access for students at five Hispanic-serving institutions, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund received $57,500 for a new program aimed at rewarding outstanding Hispanic college students and contributing to a more diversified technology workforce.

“Technology access is a critical component for a successful future, not only in information technology careers, but in almost any career today,” said Ayala. “Helping to close the ‘digital divide’ is a priority at Microsoft, and an effort that requires attention from all sectors. We are proud to work hand-in-hand with these organizations to provide greater technology access and opportunities for Latinos across the nation.”

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