Starting at 2:30 p.m. ET today in Tampa at the RNC, Microsoft, along with the National Journal and The Atlantic, will host "Conversations with the Next Generation." The town hall will bring together top leaders for a dialogue on the important issues facing America's young and emerging workforce. Microsoft will host a second town hall at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., next week.
Microsoft Vice President for U.S. Government Affairs (and ITI Board Member) Fred Humphries explained the thought process behind the town halls in a recent blog:
America’s next generation faces stronger economic challenges than ever before – in the current recession, unemployment rates are twice as high for those with just a high school diploma (10.8 percent) compared to those with a bachelor's degree or higher (4.9 percent), demonstrating an enormous hurdle when it comes to education.
At Microsoft, we know that science and technology are enormous drivers of innovation and job creation, but too many of our students face an opportunity divide – a growing gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Our support for these conversations is part of Microsoft’s deep commitment to education, community investment and youth engagement across the U.S. aimed at closing that divide. In practical terms, Microsoft’s goal is to help youth obtain the skills they need while connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship.
The Conversations with the Next Generation town halls will engage young leaders, education experts, and journalists on the most essential of these issues: What challenges are youth facing in today’s economic climate? Is the education system preparing them for employment and entrepreneurship in a 21st century economy? What works and what needs to change? Additionally, the town halls will explore young voters’ expectations of their political leaders and ways in which we can empower youth to engage in the political process and make their voices heard.
Check out the town hall, and check back at TechElect for updates and analysis throughout the conventions.