June 30, 2020

Collaboration will empower young adults with the IT skills they need to succeed as the economy recovers and changes

TORONTO – Today NPower Canada announced that they have joined forces with Microsoft to prepare young adults with the skills required for the in-demand IT roles the Canadian economy will need post-pandemic, and into the future. Microsoft recently announced it is providing $20 million in cash grants to help non-profit organizations worldwide assist those who need it most, including people with lower income, lower educational attainment and underrepresented minorities. NPower Canada is a recipient of one of these grants, and will use the investment to launch a new MS Data & AI training stream, to provide inclusive, equitable access to skills to 400 young people for roles in data analysis, cloud and AI scripting. Learners will have the opportunity to upskill in areas such as Microsoft Excel, SQL, Python and as well as Microsoft’s trusted cloud platform Azure.

This grant supports NPower Canada’s workforce development program which provides participants with no-cost skills training, industry certification, job placement and career advancement services. It will also support NPower Canada’s expansion into new Canadian markets including Vancouver, BC.

As organizations adjust to working remotely, the IT support needs of companies large and small are amplified and many companies are challenged with managing a remote workforce while contending with a shortage of IT workers. This announcement is part of Microsoft’s new skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year and ongoing commitment to empowering people to get the skills they need to succeed as the economy changes. Helping individuals develop these skills and supporting a diverse pipeline of tech talent is essential for an inclusive economic recovery.

“NPower Canada is thrilled to partner with Microsoft to equip underserved youth with the in-demand skills required by today’s IT workforce,” says NPower Canada CEO Julia Blackburn. “This partnership with Microsoft will upskill youth in data analysis, cloud and AI scripting, closing the tech skills gap and providing employers with the junior-level IT talent they need.”

“For decades, Microsoft has been committed to closing the skills gap and equipping Canadians with the digital skills needed to capitalize on economic opportunity. Now, more than ever we need to accelerate efforts and build new alliances. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with NPower Canada to advance skilling opportunities and ultimately help Canadians pursue in-demand jobs required by the changed economy. ”- Kevin Peesker Microsoft Canada President

This new MS Data-AI curriculum – known as the Junior Data Analyst Program – will equip participants with the data administration, data querying, modelling, visualization, analysis, reporting and AI scripting skills required for junior data analyst roles. This innovative new 15-week upskilling program, delivered through a blend of online and in-person skills training, ensuring graduates are well-positioned for in-demand tech roles and ready to join remote work teams.

The program will also feature professional development and life skills workshops, mentoring from senior-level IT professional volunteers, connections to job opportunities with NPower Canada partners and 5-years of post-hire coaching, mentorship, networking and job placement support.

About NPower Canada

Founded in 2014, NPower Canada is a non-profit workforce development initiative that equips lower-income, diverse Canadians for in-demand tech careers. NPower Canada has grown from enrolling 87 learners in 2015 to more than 1,000 in 2020, scaling within the GTA and expanding nationally to Calgary in 2019 and Halifax and Vancouver in 2021.

To date, more than 80% of NPower Canada’s 1,667 alumni have secured in-demand tech jobs like Help Desk Analyst, QA Specialist and Information Security Analyst with industry leaders such as Accenture, CGI, CIBC, Cisco, Deloitte, IBM, RBC, Softchoice, TD and TELUS.