Announced today, the accelerator is a 15-week online skills training and job placement program that aims to enroll 2,500 underrepresented youth between the ages of 18 to 29 for in-demand digital careers in Canada. The project was made possible by a total investment of $8.7 million. A Jan. 28 news release says $1.4 million of that total comes from the government’s Innovation, Science and Industry’s Digital Supercluster. Industry partners forked over $7.3 million.
“By partnering with industry players like Microsoft we better understand the challenges they face in identifying skilled talent as we continue to drive technology adoption across our economy. Through this project we continue to support scaling digital companies and saving and creating jobs for all Canadians” Sue Paish, chief executive officer of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, said in a Jan. 28 news release.
Microsoft president Brad Smith concurred.
“The pandemic has accelerated the world’s digital transformation creating an even greater need for people to learn new skills,” he said.
The announcement arrives on the heels of Canada’s new 50-30 Challenge. Announced earlier in January, the 50 – 30 Challenge is an initiative between the Government of Canada, business and diversity organizations to drive higher representation of diverse groups within the workplace.
The 50 – 30 Challenge asks that organizations aspire to two goals:
- Gender parity (50 per cent) on Canadian board(s) and senior management.
- Significant representation (30 per cent) on Canadian board(s) and senior management of other under-represented groups, including racialized persons, people living with disabilities (including invisible and episodic disabilities) and members of the LGBTQ2 community. The program and participants says that they recognize that First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as founding peoples of Canada are under-represented in positions of economic influence and leadership.