A group of industry heavyweights has joined forces in a bid to help provide IT skills training for "under-served" communities in Europe.
The formation of the European Alliance on Skills for Employability was announced by Microsoft, along with other members of the European e-Skills Certification Consortium.
The group aims to better co-ordinate industry and community efforts to improve the prospects of young unemployed people, those with disabilities and older workers.
It will provide technology access and ICT training to 20 million people in the next five years, and is committed to investing more than €60m to achieve these goals.
"The most important phase of the European Union's growth and jobs strategy is underway, and the spotlight is firmly on delivering results," said Vladimir Spidla, EU commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.
"Partnerships between the member states and the private sector can also make a major contribution to Europe's competitiveness as a region and for its citizens.
"The alliance is a leading example of how innovative business-to-business collaborations, working with different stakeholders, can provide opportunities to the European unemployed.
"Access to skills training, content provision and certification can help older workers, people with disabilities and the young to face the challenges of unemployment and the changing workplace, and so contribute to Europe's prosperity."
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