Microsoft Awards $300,000 to Philander Smith College for Community Skills Program

Microsoft Awards $300,000 to Philander Smith College for Community Skills Program

Little Rock, Ark. (January 21, 2021) -- Philander Smith College is pleased to be the recipient of a $300,000 award from Microsoft to participate in the company’s community skills grant program. The grant will provide unrestricted funds over the next three years to support the institution’s WISE P3 workforce development initiative.

“This recognition by Microsoft amplifies our vision to enhance employability skills as part of our commitment to workforce development in Arkansas,” said PSC President Roderick L. Smothers Sr.  “We are so pleased that Philander Smith College has been cited for the demonstrated focus we are placing on information technology, which is such an important aspect of job skills training.”

Microsoft’s community skills program is a part of its broader commitment to skills for employability and promoting racial equity in the United States. It is a $15 million investment over three years to accelerate the work of Black- and African American-led nonprofits that provide digital skills and workforce development to Black and African American communities.

The Workforce Innovation and Strategic Economic Public-Private Partnerships (WISE P3) at Philander Smith College has been operational for five years and is spearheaded by Executive Director Glenn Sergeant.

Acknowledging the investment, Sergeant said, “In awarding the college’s WISE P3 program a grant; Microsoft has taken a giant step towards its recent commitment to put its data, technology and partnerships to work to help improve the lives of African Americans across the country. Further, it will be instrumental in helping Philander Smith College reach its goal of reducing barriers that have largely kept Black Arkansas from accessing the millions of jobs created in the tech sector in the last decade alone.”

Of the 50 community-based nonprofits to participate in its community skills grant program nationwide, Philander Smith College was the only institution of higher learning to receive an award. In addition to financial support, Philander Smith College will also receive concierge service from Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact (TSI) team. This will include on-demand technical support and Microsoft software and services.