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Inroads & Microsoft Partner to Close the Digital Divide

The strategic partnership will enable the digital transformation of INROADS' internship, mentorship and talent development programs

A global solutions provider for talent pipeline issues has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help close the digital divide.  As part of this strategic partnership, INROADS also joins the Microsoft initiative, Accelerate, which brings together civic, learning, and corporate partners to provide skills across the spectrum of digital proficiency to build a more inclusive workforce. As the nation reels from COVID-19 and calls for equity to sweep the country, Microsoft’s and INROADS take a position of leadership in addressing tech disparities that disproportionately impact students and communities of color.

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Microsoft’s has certified INROADS as an Education Partner.  Inasmuch, Microsoft will provide INROADS with funding, technology, and programs to help digitally transform their leadership training, mentorship, and internship programs. The Microsoft’s / INROADS partnership addresses three areas of need:

  • Early pipeline development of talent and mid-career talent identification, for a diverse future workforce
  • Engagement of underserved Black communities, and the advancement of common racial equity goals
  • Significant digital transformation of INROADS’ infrastructure by optimizing the use of technology for the students served by INROADS

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with Microsoft’s because of the sweeping impact it will have on the communities we serve,” said Forest T. Harper, Jr., president, and CEO, INROADS. “In addition to connecting underrepresented students to technology and preparing high school students for early entry into corporate talent pipelines, our partnership represents a chance to show our students that careers at Microsoft, other powerful technology companies and entrepreneurship, are possible.”

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Microsoft, as part of its partnership with INROADS, is incentivizing its employees to get involved with the organization. For every hour a Microsoft’s employee volunteers with INROADS, Microsoft will donate $25 to INROADS. Currently, there are more than 70 INROADS alumni working at Microsoft. “Over the years, Microsoft has invested in pathways for successful diverse executives in tech and we are proud of our alumni who have been critical bridges between INROADS and Microsoft, including Darryl Willis, Corporate Vice President of Energy at Microsoft, John James, Services Executive at Microsoft, and Cydney Stevenson, Business Program Manager at Microsoft. John will serve as the Microsoft/INROADS strategic partnership advisor and will play a vital role in the success of this partnership as well as build future conduits and pipelines for diverse tech talent,” said Harper.

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“When you look at the stats, between 2016 and 2018 $2.2 billion was given by 25 foundations to nonprofits across 25 U.S. cities. Only 1% of that went to organizations serving the Black and African American community,” said Darrell Booker, corporate affairs specialist, Microsoft. “Our partnership with INROADS directly impacts our Accelerate: Atlanta initiative.  It amplifies our community outreach and aligns with the goals of both INROADS and Microsoft of leveling the playing field and creating opportunities for students of color.”

For more than 50 years, INROADS has helped talented and underrepresented college students access the skills and careers needed to have an impact. That work has resulted in more than 30,000 alumni globally, which also provides an opportunity to enable mid-career and executive-level global talent acquisition for firms like Microsoft and will continue to change the complexion of C-suites across corporate America.

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