Earlier this month, we reported that Microsoft and Ohio’s Cuyahoga Country had recently formed a partnership to offer free computer training skill courses to residents, but it seems that the Redmond giant will soon contribute to a similar project in a much bigger scope. According to a report from TechFinancials, the City of Johannesburg has announced that it has partnered with Microsoft South Africa to offer free training on digital skills and literacy to one million disadvantaged residents over a period of five years. Microsoft will be investing around R200 million in the program named "JoziMS1million", which is a result of engagement that the City of Johannesburg had with Microsoft in the last three months.
The program will benefit 800,000 young adults between 18 and 34 years of age and 200,000 adults over 35 as the following key topics are addressed: Computer Skills, The Internet, Cloud Services and the World Wide Web, Productivity Programs (including Microsoft Office), Computer Security and Privacy and Digital Lifestyle.
The City’s Mayor, Parks Tau explained that he hopes the acquisition of digital skills will make it easier for young people in the country to get their first job:
We are breaking down barriers for the people of Johannesburg to get these jobs that will be available in the market that require skills. The investments on the overall project come from the City of Johannesburg and Microsoft; the participants are not required to pay a fee. This is very important for those people who cannot afford to pay fees to acquire skills.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced that he would encourage other South African cities to develop similar programs to empower their residents:
Smart cities, smart towns, need to go beyond just provision of services to their citizens. They now need to move into improving the economic life of the city, and by doing so having a positive impact on the lives of the people who live in the city.
Registration "JoziMS1million" will begin in early in August with the program is expected to begin in September. Let us know in the comments if you think these kinds of partnerships can be instrumental in developing a local economy.