INROADS & Microsoft Partner to Close the Digital Divide
INROADS, Inc. — 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 sweep the country, Microsoft and INROADS takes a position of leadership in addressing tech disparities that disproportionately impact students and communities of color.
Microsoft 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 / 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 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, is possible.”
Microsoft, as part of their partnership with INROADS, is incentivizing its employees to get involved with the organization. For every hour a Microsoft 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.
“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.
Microsoft is on a mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more through supporting inclusive economic opportunity, protecting fundamental rights, committing to a sustainable future and earning trust. This year, as part of its sweeping investments in Atlanta, Georgia, Microsoft announced that it will complete a new Atlanta-based office space in Atlantic Yards and will be adding even more space in the future. These investments include plans for a new data center and purchasing of 90 acres of land to house a future campus at Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills and aims to increase access to technology for the underserved and emerging talent.
INROADS was founded more than 50 years ago. Inspired by the famed I Have a Dream speech, Frank Carr founded INROADS to remove career barriers to corporate opportunities for people of color. It is the largest nonprofit organization committed to leadership and career development for underrepresented talent in the world. INROADS has prepared more than 154,000 diverse leaders with pre-employment skills and graduated more than 30,000 alumni into full-time professional positions with more than 1,000 corporate partners. Currently, INROADS serves 800-1,300 interns and 200 corporate clients. Learn more at INROADS.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn: @INROADSInc.