Microsoft's new core philanthropy: Training kids to make software

Social Enterprise

Microsoft's new core philanthropy: Training kids to make software

Youth Spark works to support youth education, especially in the tech sector. Photo: <a href=”http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/youthspark/youthsparkhub/”> Youth Spark (Microsoft)</a>
Youth Spark works to support youth education, especially in the tech sector. Photo: Youth Spark (Microsoft)

Microsoft is rethinking its charity strategies to spread the spark of high-tech education—and maybe to train its own future employees.

The publicized focus of YouthSpark, Microsoft’s new philanthropy program announced in September, is on getting kids education, helping them find a job or start a business.

Chief executive Steve Ballmer said Microsoft would change its philanthropic strategy to work with organizations and non-profits that foster "opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship for young people."

YouthSpark’s focus is more specific, though: Most of the training it offers is in the tech sector, focused mostly on creating developers and designers. According to a statement by Microsoft last month, its struggle in this economy is not creating job openings, but filling them.

YouthSpark, for all the good it's likely to do, seems to be part of that. And for development organizations that wish to work with Microsoft, focusing on teaching tech skills to people who need them may be a good investment.

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