NPower Canada’s tech workforce development program expands nationwide to upskill 2500 diverse Canadian youth underrepresented in the digital economy.

Today Microsoft President Brad Smith, alongside The Honourable Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry announced that through the Digital Technology Supercluster, they are co-investing $1.4 million each in NPower Canada’s Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator.

The entire media release can be found here, while the Microsoft News Center Canada blog post can be found here.

The largest skilling investment to date for the Tech Supercluster and for Microsoft Canada, this project will fund NPower Canada as we scale our national skilling program for underemployed youth.  NPower Canada is proud to collaborate with Microsoft and Blueprint on the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator project to support Canada’s economic recovery by providing in-demand tech skills to unemployed and underemployed youth from communities underrepresented in the digital economy.

This project allows Microsoft and NPower Canada to achieve shared impact at scale, accelerating the expansion of NPower Canada’s proven workforce development program, enriched by Microsoft’s innovative curriculum and online skills offerings, and sourcing job opportunities for program alumni among Microsoft’s industry partners.

At a time when youth unemployment sits at 29% and when nearly 1 in 4 Canadian youth are not in education, employment or training (2020 StatsCan Report), the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator Program gives youth a clear pathway to be able to participate in the digital workforce.

“The pandemic has accelerated the world’s digital transformation creating an even greater need for people to learn new skills, said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “We are committed to providing tools and resources to ensure those currently in the workforce, jobseekers and future leaders have the opportunity to acquire in-demand digital skills. Our collaboration with the Digital Technology Supercluster and NPower Canada will help ensure Canadians, particularly those in underserved communities, have access to these opportunities.”

“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” said Sue Paish, CEO of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster.

“This partnership with Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster and Microsoft builds on our momentum from last year, as we continue to expand our curriculum across Canada, ensuring that underrepresented youth have opportunities to gain digital skills. Our mission to reduce poverty in Canada by addressing youth unemployment has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we see a huge opportunity through this accelerator program to deploy rapid skilling solutions that will enable youth to enter meaningful and sustainable careers.” Julia Blackburn (CEO), NPower Canada

NPower Canada will leverage best-in-class educational resources developed by Microsoft to deliver a 15-week online skills training program to 2,500 participants in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and the Greater Toronto Area.

This project will prioritize the employment and training of women, Indigenous and other racialized youth, New Canadians, LGBTQ2S+ youth and youth with disabilities. NPower Canada will place these youth into sustainable IT-related employment among its growing network of more than 200 hiring partners, and with leading firms within Microsoft’s client ecosystem.

Canadian employers will be provided with a growing pipeline of diverse, custom-trained talent, while launching low-income youth into sustainable employment, making a measurable contribution to national economic resiliency while reducing poverty and strengthening social inclusion.

Blueprint-ADE will analyze the outcomes of the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator initiative for youth and employers, and test and validate the most scalable elements of this program to fuel exponential pan-Canadian impact.

We are honoured to have Microsoft invest $1.4 million in to establish The Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator project, and to have the Government of Canada’s Innovation, Science and Industry match that investment through the Digital Supercluster. The Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator project is a total investment of $8.7 million and I thank our other funders and partners for their support.