In a bid to help increase worldwide computer literacy and improve technology skills, Microsoft today promised to stump up grants totalling more than $25m in cash and software for more than 70 non-profit organisations.
The move, which represents the second round of the software giant's Unlimited Potential global initiative, will see grants awarded to public centres where 'under-served' people can gain IT skills and training.
"Technology skills have become increasingly important for today's workforce, and yet millions of people around the world still face the challenge of how and where to obtain these skills," said Pamela Passman, managing director of global corporate affairs at Microsoft.
"We're building alliances with organisations to remove the barriers and provide the location, trainers and materials for those who wouldn't otherwise have skills to successfully compete in today's marketplace."
Unlimited Potential grants provide community technology learning centres with funding to launch or maintain IT skills training programmes.
These include hiring and training technology instructors, expanding course offerings, and targeting sections of the local population that would not otherwise be offered training.
Microsoft said that it has developed a curriculum that emphasises real-world technology applications, which will initially be available in English, French, Spanish and German.
In the near future, Microsoft promised to expand the work and launch a global support network to deliver technology research, tools and services to training centres worldwide.
The firm has made a five-year, $1bn commitment to Unlimited Potential and other programmes to bridge the digital divide, and has distributed nearly $50m in cash and software since the programme was initiated in May last year.
The recipients in this latest round of grants span 45 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America.
A complete list of Unlimited Potential grant recipients can be found here.
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