Monday, February 25, 2008

The role of the private sector in e-inclusion initiatives | Microsoft UP CTSP program in Poland

The work day started at 10:00 AM in Microsoft meeting with Joanna and Justyna from Community Affairs. It was a very productive meeting where we discussed the achievements, challenges, and future plans for the UP Community Technology Skills Programs in the country. The new partnership with the Foundation Supporting Physically Disabled Mathematicians and IT Specialists will allow the UP CTSP program to have, for the first time, a truly national reach. The Foundation, together with other social partners, plans to open 340 e-Centrum covering all regions by June 2008.

Discussing the relationship between e-skills and employment, both pointed out that improving people's IT skills is only one step of many needed in the path towards employment. They explained the way in which the "culture of unemployment" hampers in many cases the willingness of people to improve their skills and find jobs. More so when the jobs available for low-skilled workers offer 20% more income than what they receive from collecting unemployment.

On human capital, Joanna mentioned the importance of having a CAM working 100% on the UP program. As a marketing manager as her primary role, Joanna was only able to assigned a limited percentage of her work to manage the community affairs program. She strongly believed that the program needed somebody committed full time in order to build solid relations with the grantees and make the program more relevant for the communities they target. 6 months ago she got an additional head count to hire a community affairs manager, Justyna, devoted full time to citizenship programs.

We continue our discussion during lunch and I must say, there is something about talking business and sharing a meal that makes the process very productive and definitely more enjoyable (may be my Mexican genes are talking here)

After lunch, Pawel and I went to the Foundation and visit one of its CTCs where we observed an ECDL training for physically disabled people. More on what we learned tomorrow

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