Microsoft Donation Expands Tech Training for Underprivileged Youth at Genesys Works

$1.17M National Software Upgrades Support Teens Preparing for 21st Century Jobs

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Houston, Texas — Genesys Works has been awarded a major technology grant from Microsoft to modernize its training facilities nationally. The $1.17M software donation will enable Genesys Works to expand and strengthen its technical training for economically-disadvantaged high school students who are often shut out of today’s workforce.

“Genesys Works strengthens the technology sector by preparing the workforce of tomorrow,” said Thea Smith Nilsson, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy manager at Microsoft. “We are honored to provide software to support their mission of transforming the lives of disadvantaged students through skills training, meaningful internships, and impactful relationships.”

The grant came at a time when the gap between jobs requiring a college education and the number of low-income youth with degrees is widening. The majority of new high-paying jobs in the United States will be in STEM, and yet low-income students are ten times less likely to attain a STEM degree than their high-income peers. To close this gap, Genesys Works provides 8 weeks of intensive technical skills training paired with professional skills coaching to underserved high school students, then places them in paid year-long internships performing tech-related roles.

Microsoft’s gift will equip youth with software technical skills, a critical need for businesses today. New Microsoft Office Suites were installed and taught in 14 training centers across the country, providing immediate benefit to over 2,000 students and setting them up to excel in their internships and beyond. The partnership with Microsoft will continue to improve the delivery of the Genesys Works program, and help the non-profit’s mission of equipping low-income youth with the tools, opportunity, and support to succeed in the modern economy.

One such young person is Josh Nojadera, who completed training this past summer in the Bay Area in preparation for an IT internship in the fall. Despite struggling to get by academically and personally in middle and early high school, Josh excelled during the training portion of the program. He says that Genesys Works gave him the skills to achieve success, and motivated him to “climb the ranks in engineering.”

The software upgrade has also provided standardization for Genesys Works’ 145 staff, allowing for greater efficiency, ease of scaling the program to new geographies, and increased focus on providing quality training to students. Genesys Works was founded in Houston in 2002. Since then, the program has scaled to 5 cities and served more than 4,000 students. By 2018 it will expand to 2 additional cities with the help of a new technology implementation model. Genesys Works has been proven highly effective with 94% of program graduates going on to enroll in college after experiencing professional success while still in high school.

Genesys Works founder and CEO Rafael Alvarez stated, “At Genesys Works, we believe closing these skills and opportunity gaps is an urgent economic and social imperative. We are very appreciative of the funding and support Microsoft Corporation is providing to enable us to upgrade training room computers at all sites. With this generous gift, we can continue to provide these transformational services and simultaneously help close the educational achievement and opportunity gaps currently challenging our communities.”

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About Genesys Works
Genesys Works is a non-profit social enterprise changing the trajectory of life for disadvantaged high school students through meaningful work experiences. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college. Our goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process. Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve more than 2,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region. To learn more, visit www.genesysworks.org.

About Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.