Focus in Vulnerable Population: POETA DigiSpark seeks that 70% of participants are part of underserved and vulnerable groups, such as those who are unemployed and underemployed, people at risk of losing their jobs, people with disabilities, women, at-risk youth, migrants and refugees, and those of afro or indigenous descent.
POETA DigiSpark seeks to empower people -ages 16 and over- through technology to facilitate their access to economic and educational opportunities such as: obtaining a job or a promotion, creating or strengthening an entrepreneurship, obtaining an internship, and starting or continuing their education. In 2023, the project is implemented in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay.
In partnership with Eidos Global, POETA DigiSpark also seeks to provide training focused on computer science and digital skills to teachers and facilitators of any discipline, to enhance their teaching and promote the use of technology among new generations.
Also, POETA DigiSpark continues its partnership with Ernst & Young (EY) to train its beneficiaries in the Future Skills Workshops (FSW). The objective of the FSW content is to develop mindsets, approaches, and skills to help beneficiaries work towards creating a better working world.
Additionally, in 2023 POETA DigiSpark implements a strategy to bring training and mentorship in digital, life and business skills to indigenous communities in Mexico. Our objective is to promote the creation or strengthening of entrepeneurships, and the access to educational opportunities.
Through its network of 22 local partners, POETA DigiSpark seeks to provide training in digital and technical skills that support the regional efforts to close the digital gap, and that prepare participants with the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century labor market. These courses are coupled with life skills and job-readiness training, vocational guidance and mentorship, with the final goal of connecting participants with more and better economic and educational opportunities.
Emerging Digital Economy: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a trend already in motion: digital transformation. To effectively participate in the digital economy, which is increasingly present in the region, POETA DigiSpark empowers its participants to develop digital, telework and communication skills via technology to adapt to online settings.
The Talent Gap: According to the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), in Latin America and the Caribbean, employers are experiencing difficulty to find workers with digital skills relevant to the post-COVID 19 world (IDB, 2021): by 2025, employers will not be able to fill one million vacancies due to a lack of skilled employees (WEF, 2019).
The Trust and Microsoft’s 15+ years of partnership have allowed our missions to align towards empowering vulnerable communities in the Americas through the access, use, and appropriation of technology.
Through POETA DigiSpark, in 2023, The Trust continues to spearhead Microsoft’s Global Skilling Initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean by providing easier access to training and mentorship for people hardest hit by recent job losses or at risk of being replaced by automation processes.
Cristopher’s job-readiness skills allow him to secure a paid internship
Cristopher is a 19-year-old man from Maipu, part of the Santiago Metropolitan Region in Chile. He was finishing his high school studies and was looking for an internship opportunity that would give him the necessary credits to graduate when he heard about POETA DigiSpark. It was through his school that he heard about the project since Fundación Lace teaches courses on Digital Skills and Job Readiness here. To strengthen his profile, he decided to enroll in Workforce Readiness, Introduction to Excel, and Building a Professional Profile on LinkedIn courses.
Since day one, Cristopher stood out for his enthusiasm and willingness to help, assisting facilitators during class and helping his classmates build their LinkedIn Profiles. As a result of these efforts, and with the support of Lace, Cristopher was able to secure a paid internship at MOVA Energía, a local company focused on providing heating to households through renewable sources. For Cristopher, this opportunity represents not only the possibility of helping his parents, who obtain their income from scavenging waste, but also a step in the right direction to obtain his high-school technical degree. In 2023, Cristopher plans to obtain a full-time job and enroll in an IT or Sustainability Bachelor’s Degree program, becoming the first person in his family to access tertiary education.
Beyanid consolidates “Confeccionando Sueños”, a brand and tailoring business that employs women in outside of Bogota
Beyanid (30) lives with her partner and two children in Usme, a district in the south of Bogota. As a teenager, Beyanid’s foster mother introduced her to dressmaking, which later became its profession. Beyanid worked for large companies, juggling between her job and caregiver responsibilities. To become more autonomous, Beyanid opened a workshop in her house, in which she and other women tailored clothing for large companies. Nonetheless, managing her own entrepreneurship came along with some challenges, one of which was the lack of machinery that would allow her and her employees to work more efficiently.
Since Fundación Laudes Infantis has an important presence in Beyanid’s community, she knew beforehand that the POETA-Laudes Center offered sewing machines and other equipment. Beyanid arrived at the POETA-Laudes Center looking for access to this equipment, but she also encountered a team available to provide her with training, counseling, and support to boost her entrepreneurship. Beyanid was redirected to the Basic Excel and Entrepreneurial Skills for Business courses, while also receiving counseling to increase her confidence and strengthen her leadership abilities. As a result of this comprehensive support, Beyanid has taken her workshop to the next level. Besides increasing her clothing production by connecting with more companies, Beyanid consolidated her business’ brand -“Confeccionando Sueños”- and officially launched its first collection at the POETA-Laudes Center. Additionally, all the other women that are part of Beyanid’s workshop also received training in digital and entrepreneurial skills. Today, Beyanid is able to provide other women with employment opportunities and hopes to continue growing her business initiative with the support of the POETA - Laudes Center team.
William strengthens his life skills and lands his first job at an IT company
William (22) is autistic. He is a Biomedicine student who lives in Curitiba with his grandparents. William is very passionate when it comes to promoting inclusion: before joining POETA DigiSpark, he was involved in extracurricular projects to generate tech-related solutions for people with Parkinson, Alzheimer, Down Syndrome, and Autism.
Despite enjoying his studies and projects, William’s disability made socializing with his colleagues challenging.
William heard about POETA DigiSpark through a friend and decided to enroll in the Computer Science course offered at the POETA–UNILEHU Center in Curitiba. During this time, William increased his programming knowledge and was able to develop an app to aid neurodivergent people and those with disabilities to increase their productivity. But for William, the biggest impact that POETA had on his life was helping him strengthen his interpersonal and communication skills: with the support of the psychological team of the center, William was able to gain greater confidence and develop key life skills to navigate the job market. As a result of these efforts, William secured his first job at NTT Data, an IT consulting company. Today, William has overcome his fears of being excluded and uses social media as a platform to talk about his experience as an autistic young man to promote the inclusion of people on the autistic spectrum. In the future, he looks forward to continue working on tech-related solutions for this population.