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Microsoft Unveils "Elevate America"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the we-really-need-some-good-pr-what-can-we-do dept.

Microsoft 325

nandemoari writes "In response to the current economic crisis, Microsoft Corp. has come out with a stimulus plan of their own. Their goal is to help a large group of individuals use their computers to land employment in ways other than to generate a compelling resume. The new online initiative, Elevate America, is set to equip close to 2 million people (over the next three years) with the skills needed to succeed in the field of technology."

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Clearly, (5, Funny)

Ixtl (1022043) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962725)

It's a trap.

Re:Clearly, (4, Funny)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962751)

It's a trick. Get an axe.

Re:Clearly, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962985)

Say what you will about Microsoft, but Windows Server 2008 is a damn fine piece of software. Here's some facts, you can thank me later. [getthefacts.com]

Re:Clearly, (3, Funny)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963021)

how much later?

Re:Clearly, (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963321)

On Slashdot I would say right around the time the temperature in hell dips below 0 degrees.

Re:Clearly, (5, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963453)

...right around the time the temperature in hell dips below 0 degrees.

Kelvin

Re:Clearly, (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963325)

When Microsoft *fingerquotes* WINS *fingerquotes*

Re:Clearly, (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963549)

>>>It's a trick. Get an axe.

No, no, the trick is on Microsoft. I learn the skills, I land the job, and then I spend a year surfing the net without doing any real work. I get back the $100,000 that they stole from taxpayers (via the stimulus bill) and spread it around to my neighbors. Like Robin Hood.

It's a trap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963615)

Ok, you get the axe, I'll get the pitchforks, torches, and angry villagers. Honestly, who could be less qualified to 'elevate' anyone in a technological sense. Microsoft impedes progress; they don't facilitate it. It's like Pol Pot claiming to be a champion of human rights, and starting a 'training program'.

Re:Clearly, (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962823)

Yep, they claim to be training Americans, but they're training them for jobs that are disappearing [nytimes.com] forever. [digg.com]

Re:Clearly, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962923)

Yep, they claim to be training Americans, but they're training them for jobs that are disappearing forever.

Like "Windows Developer"?

Re:Clearly, (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963079)

Read the 2nd link- Software Developer in general is about as useful in the United States as a textile worker.

Re:Clearly, (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962949)

Come one, it's clear Microsoft really cares [slashdot.org] about the American worker.

Disagree (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963025)

First off, of course computer sales are in a slump. They were in a slump during the last big economic downturn, too. (Remember the "bubble"?) That doesn't mean much of anything.

Second: Microsoft's slump is probably due more to peoples' general (and increasing) dissatisfaction with Microsoft than anything else. But the economy will hurt them, too. Maybe a lot. After all, a 5-year-old PC can run Linux just fine. But try Vista on it. Nope, didn't think so.

I would be willing to bet that Microsoft's slump lasts longer than any slump for Intel or AMD or Google.

And IBM? Who cares? When was the last time YOU bought something from IBM?

Re:Disagree (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963139)

First off, of course computer sales are in a slump. They were in a slump during the last big economic downturn, too. (Remember the "bubble"?) That doesn't mean much of anything.
 
And the jobs never did come back to America- it took 7 years for the number of jobs to be EQUAL to that before the crash, and during that time we imported just about as many workers as we gained jobs.
 
  Second: Microsoft's slump is probably due more to peoples' general (and increasing) dissatisfaction with Microsoft than anything else. But the economy will hurt them, too. Maybe a lot. After all, a 5-year-old PC can run Linux just fine. But try Vista on it. Nope, didn't think so.
 
Look at the 2nd link above- this isn't just about Microsoft. Software development in general is about as economically efficient as textile work now.
 
  I would be willing to bet that Microsoft's slump lasts longer than any slump for Intel
 
Whose last big processor, the Nehalem, was designed and built in Bangalore
 
  AMD
 
I'm going to be amazed if they're still in business now that their credit has dried up
 
  Google.
 
Who just opened a development office in Mumbai- goodbye Silicon Valley.

Re:Disagree (3, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963411)

And the jobs never did come back to America- it took 7 years for the number of jobs to be EQUAL to that before the crash, and during that time we imported just about as many workers as we gained jobs.

Most of those jobs didn't leave the country, exactly - they vanished because they were never real in the first place. You can only continue employment on speculative investment for so long. Like right up until the bubble bursts.

Re:Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963465)

As far as I'm aware Nehalem was designed in Israel and I'm not sure where it's built, probably Malaysia.

Re:Disagree (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963541)

"And the jobs never did come back to America- it took 7 years for the number of jobs to be EQUAL to that before the crash, and during that time we imported just about as many workers as we gained jobs."

I don't think you can show causation here. Outsourcing had already begun; it wasn't caused by the "dot-com bubble".

I did look at the second link, which by the way was not a link to a story, but a link to a link to a story, which is very bad form. Regardless, quote: "Whose last big processor, the Nehalem, was designed and built in Bangalore".

Completely false. The Dunnington core, NOT Nehalem, was designed in Bangalore, and was the first and only chip so far to be designed there. Further, Dunnington is nothing more than a multi-core Penryn, which does not say very much about the Bangalore team: http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=3264 [anandtech.com]

Also, it was not BUILT there, but only designed there. And further yet, that has almost nothing to do with software development, which is the topic under discussion.

And lastly, if you had been involved with any of the international software freelancing sites, you would know that places like Pakistan, India, and any number of third-world countries are full of software development firms and individuals who are, according to their own horn-blowing, experts in virtually everything. You would also know that although they very often under-bid other developers, their reputation is terrible. More and more I have been seeing job offers on the international sites for software developers from "North America, South America, and Western Europe ONLY!"

Sure, outsourcing is bad for America. But the sitation is not as bad as it might appear... especially for software developers.

Re:Disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963501)

"Microsoft's slump is probably due more to peoples' general (and increasing) dissatisfaction with Microsoft than anything else"

And what colour is the sky in your world? What's next - are you going to claim that this year is the "Year of Linux on the Desktops" as well? You may as well go for it! If you are going to lie, lie big!

Re:Clearly, (0)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963525)

And then they ask for a refund.

Ruthless!

Re:Clearly, (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963587)

Yep, they claim to be training Americans, but they're training them for jobs that are disappearing forever.

The service economy is labor intensive.

Which means that it generates countless supporting documents and records, to be printed or filed.

The clerical worker is not about to disappear.

The geek whose livelihood depends on the expensive and now dispensable gadget - like the TiVO or the iPhone - seems to me rather more exposed.

So... (1)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962731)

They'll teach people to groom themselves to look nice and then quit after 20 minutes on the job?

Re:So... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962895)

Or turn blue and spit out gobs of garbage

That's great... (5, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962739)

That's great, but aren't there already more people equipped with computer skills than the market needs? America doesn't need more job-qualified people (at least, that's not the big problem), it needs jobs to put those people in to.

Re:That's great... (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962827)

SHHHH!!! You are going to mess up their plans! They are very large users of the H1-B visa program and they would like to justify their continued [ab]use of the program! After all, the firing of thousands in the US while claiming the are needs to expand the H1-B program in today's situation is a pretty questionable move on the surface. Now they have to do something to appease congress and fast!

Re:That's great... (4, Insightful)

IgLou (732042) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963445)

Wait... IIRC isn't this phrase:

They are very large users of the H1-B visa program

Supposed to say this?

They are the largest user of the H1-B visa program

I'm being cheeky about it. But, I remember when they opened the office here in Vancouver how excited everyone was and then no one was being hired here but there was a lot of people coming in from abroad to work here. The problem is on paper it always looks better to move things offshore because the "operating effeciencies" but look what happens when things are moved, poorer quality, poorer service and no one cares. I'm inclined to blame the "Walmart/everything's disposable and cheaper to replace mentality".

Re:That's great... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962849)

Maybe they're training them to Move to Brazil or India [digg.com] .

Re:That's great... (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963065)

You mean teaching them to speak Portuguese or English?

Re:That's great... (-1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963255)

I doubt greatly that English will be a reasonable choice for trade language into the next decade. Perhaps you meant Chinese. English speaking countries have run out of fiat credit-based currency to continue to be consumers.

Linux administrators are on demand (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962993)

aren't there already more people equipped with computer skills than the market needs?

There surely seems to be too many MCSEs around. But I think there are jobs available for setting up and running Linux servers. Perhaps that's Microsoft's plan?

depends on what you mean by computer skills (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963061)

Some areas have large surpluses, others have large deficits. One area I'm familiar with with a deficit is anything to do with data analysis, due to the huge piles of data companies like Google and Facebook are building up that they don't do nearly as much with as they could. If you can convince a company that you're both technically competent when it comes to data mining, machine learning, etc., and have knowledge in some area that relates to something to do with it (marketing/customer stuff, artificial intelligence, even just information visualization), there are plenty of jobs.

Actually, in general, the best bet seems to be to have two useful skill areas that intersect in some reasonable way; really cuts down the competition as compared to going up against people in one area or the other in isolation.

Re:depends on what you mean by computer skills (1)

paazin (719486) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963273)

Hear, hear.

There are many companies still hiring workers, as the need is still there - it's areas like these, where specialization is key, the market is still scarce of workers who have the background in the subject.

I don't see how more MSCEs would help with this however, as this is a wholly different ballpark...

Re:That's great... (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963083)

Actually, no, there are not more people with computer skills than the market needs. Yet, anyway. Unless by "computer skills" you are counting the ability to send an email or fill in a pre-made Excel spreadsheet.

There is still high demand for people with REAL computer skills: programmers, back-end Web Developers, and good front-end Web Developers, for that matter. Not to mention the hardware end of things (although I am not necessarily referring to the "classical" IT position).

And for the latest-and-greatest software tech, like Ruby and Python (and I will reluctantly include .NET, just because)??? The demand is still very high.

Re:That's great... (1)

jdeisenberg (37914) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963097)

That's great, but aren't there already more people equipped with computer skills than the market needs?

You'd be surprised. I'm teaching at a community college, and I figured that the students, especially the younger ones, would know how to do word processing. I was wrong. The idea of headers and footers are a novel concept to many of them, and the difference between "Save" and "Save as..." eludes others.

...it needs jobs to put those people in to.

+1

Re:That's great... (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963201)

In economics labour is considered scarce, in general. Sure, the unemployment rate may be alarming and suggests otherwise, but if you've ever been on the hiring side and had to sift through applications and interview person after person you'll find that finding qualified people is quite difficult. Sometimes the company's expectations may be unreasonable, and they'll have to offer higher wages, perks and/or expect fewer hours. But the point is that there is never a surplus of people who are "right for the job". This speaks just as much to education as it does to the company's high expectations.

This is why in industries that see a surplus of labour are usually in unskilled areas. Janitors, burger flippers etc.

Education always increases the supply of labour and thus the amount of production. Milton Friedman, who was against almost any kind of government intervention or control, favoured government-mandated education (not to be confused with government-controlled, ie: public, education) because of this. He called it the "neighbourhood effect", the idea being that you benefit indirectly from your neighbhour being educated.

Show me a man who can't find anyone to hire... (1)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963281)

...and I'll show you a man no one wants to work for. Multiply the offer by a factor of ten and you'll have the absolutely perfect people banging down your door. If you're having trouble finding someone in this economy, then either your offer is ridiculously low or your reputation precedes you.

Gee, Frank told me he can't find anyone to sell him a BMW for $500 with a credit score of 310. Clearly, the government needs to intervene to force those lazy Germans to sell the product of their labor to Frank...

Re:That's great... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963385)

That's great, but aren't there already more people equipped with computer skills than the market needs?

That depends on what you mean by computer skills.

Take a look at the fine print in the help wanted adds. Count how many employers expect you to be productive when working with MS Office.

You can move higher up the food chain and still see adds like this:

Contract Administrator. Minimum 5 years experience. Must have extensive computer skills with speed and accuracy in MS Word, Excel, Access and Outlook. Experience with MS Project or SureTrack is a plus. - Buffalo [NY] News, Feb 22]

Why not "Hire America"? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962745)

Microsoft on hiring American Workers: great for other people!

Come on.... (5, Insightful)

panoptical2 (1344319) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962757)

Microsoft is just grabbing the opportunity to train more devs and IT in advanced Microsoft products. After all, this is what ensures that companies use these products; that way, the companies don't have to pay for training.

They also use this tactic with student/academia discounts, also.... (MSDNAA, anyone?)

Re:Come on.... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962881)

Hey, don't knock MSDNAA. After I gave my mother my Windows machine and switched to OS X and FreeBSD, I realised I needed a Windows license to play some of my old games. MSDNAA provided me with an XP license, which I squeezed into a small partition on my ThinkPad.

WINE has now got to the state where it supports the features that were in Windows last time I bought a Windows-only game, but the XP license was useful for a few years.

Re:Come on.... (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963067)

They were even giving away Visual Studio 2008 for free to students under that Dreamspark program a while ago. Not sure if they're still doing that.

Re:Come on.... (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963121)

They are. Server 2003 and Server 2008, too.

It's actually a pretty nice program. For some tasks, .NET is nice to work with, and a free copy of the full version of VS2008 is pretty handy. (I'd rather they fix ASP.NET first, but that's never going to happen.)

Re:Come on.... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963469)

of course they are. The catch, of course, is that once you graduate you don't get to keep the tools. At that point, you expect to walk into a job that has purchased them, or you purchase them yourself.

Pretty profitable, this philanthropy lark!

Re:Come on.... (1)

fudoniten (918077) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963071)

Well, as Balmer has been known to say, DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS...


(And now a little something to get through the filter...c'mon, it's just not funny in lower-case.)

Re:Come on.... (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963267)

Microsoft is just grabbing the opportunity to train more devs and IT in advanced Microsoft products.

Yeah, my first thought when I read the summary was, "So Microsoft is teaching 'the skills needed to succeed in the field of technology,' huh? Does that include Linux administration?" Because seriously, that's a pretty important skill.

No, I'm not just being snarky or karma whoring. That's a really useful skill.

Re:Come on.... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963383)

Thanks to MSDNAA, I run Windows XP and 2K in virtual box on my iMac. Strictly for educational purposes, of course!

(I graduated last century, but took an employer-paid graduate-level DB class last year. The professor never once recommended (or even mentioned) SQL Server)

It's a secret plan (4, Funny)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962759)

As it is, the problem isn't a lack of qualified individuals, but rather a lack of jobs for them. On the face of it, this looks like a complete failure of an idea. But they have a secret. You see, they will teach people to use only Microsoft technologies, and if everything goes right, these people will be unemployable in an IT environment. When the number of qualified IT people is lowered to the number of jobs, success!

Yes, it is what you think (5, Informative)

Onaga (1369777) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962765)

At first, I was going to post about not berating Microsoft blindly. Then I RTFA... They have basic courses for free online, but anything past that is an advertisement for MS certs.

The special skill they want (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962779)

MS needs people that can understand how to help foreigners fill out H1B Visas.

No point in getting skilled up in regular skills if they're just going to replace you with cheaper emplyees later.

Re:The special skill they want (5, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963365)

If you're going to be a xenophobe, you might as well come out and say it, rather than blaming all of our economic woes on foreigners.

The number of H1B workers is a drop in the bucket in the context of the national economy.

The number of H1-B visas that can be issued in a given year is limited [wikipedia.org] to 65,000 by law.

According [bls.gov] to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the total size of the American workforce was approximately 153.7 million last month (with unemployment at a troubling 11.6 million).

An H1B worker is typically limited to a 6-year stay, unless the worker is applying for permanent residency. Assuming that all 65,000 workers stay each year, we have 390,000 H1B workers in the country at the present (I'd guess the actual number is somewhat less than that).

At the very worst, H1-Bs might represent 0.25% of the national workforce.

Microsoft employs 3,517 H1-B workers (the 3rd most of any American firm), out of 89,809 total employees, or just about 4%. This number might be a little high, although 4 percent doesn't strike me as being particularly alarming.

Microsoft's recent round of layoffs (the first in the company's history) let go about 5,000 workers. Although I suppose these could have largely been avoided by eliminating all of the H1-B workers, that still leaves 1,500 workers, and assumes that every single H1-B worker was worthless to the company (which is somewhat doubtful).

To summarize: Stop complaining about the H1-B workers. Although it's not a good idea to begin hiring foreign workers during a recession, the current crop of H1-B workers is simply too small to be having any substantial effect on the economy.

Just what the world needs (1)

stox (131684) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962787)

2 million more MCSE's.

Re:Just what the world needs (1, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963009)

"It's hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there's no cat there."

Then what the heck is rubbing against my leg? Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963203)

>Then what the heck is rubbing against my leg?

Bill Gates

Re:Just what the world needs (2, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963253)

2 million more arrogant pricks who don't know what they're doing.

There, fixed that for you.

do this first (4, Funny)

blhack (921171) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962789)

Can step #1 be teaching everybody in my office that Caps lock is not the same as shift?
Also that you need to turn on num-lock to use the numpad?

Seriously...what ever happened to requiring basic computer skills to get an office job?

And they're getting jobs where? (2, Funny)

Rhone (220519) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962793)

Will Microsoft also be relocating those 2 million people to India so they can actually find jobs with their new skills?

its only MS Training (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962795)

i see no Cisco training, Apache, MySql, etc
but i do see training on Server2008 (woopee do)

this is just a fluff/feelgood PR initative, when really they want 2 millon mcse's/advocates/salespeople who only know about a single vendors product and are therefore ill equipped for the modern diverse IT industry.

there is more to IT than MS and a Mcse

Re:its only MS Training (2, Interesting)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962897)

I agree 100%. Of course on the flip side, it would be nice for other vendors to jump on the bandwagon and start offering free training. Cisco and Oracle can start. Some *nix vendors would be welcome too, maybe NetApp and EMC. With some diversity in the education, it might be worthwhile.

Re:its only MS Training (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963423)

Completely off-topic: am I the only one who has ever had the thought that companies selling products and then also selling training/certifications for use of those products is a weird conflict of interest?

On one level, of course, it makes a lot of sense. Who better to provide training than those who make the product? On the other hand, how much of a motive do you have to make your product truly easy to use if you're also making tons of money selling training and certificates? If anything, it's all the more incentive to make your products confusing to laymen, and change things up every now and then so that people have to "stay current", even if the old way was perfectly fine.

Yeah, I know, it's probably a paranoid thought. But it seems strange to me sometimes, that the incentive might be going the wrong way.

Succeed in the field of technology? (1)

Tovok7 (948510) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962807)

The new online initiative, Elevate America, is set to equip close to 2 million people (over the next three years) with the skills needed to succeed in the field of technology.

So they are not trained in using Microsoft products?

Re:Succeed in the field of technology? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962931)

I already have an award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Excellence! Why would I need something less ambiguous?

Nothing new here (5, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962815)

Nigerian "Princes" have been using their computers to generate income for themselves for years now...

Re:Nothing new here (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963227)

Generating income? This is income that is rightfully theirs. And you know what? They need our help. So let's take these Microsoft classes so we can get the basic computer skills necessary to help them transfer the funds out of their Human-Rights-Abusing nation.

Lift America's Economy (3, Funny)

45mm (970995) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962819)

... and install SilverLight!

The only problems solved here is Microsoft's (3, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962843)

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who reads this as "brace yourself for 2 million more unemployed MSCE's to dilute the IT field within the next 3 years". Sorry for the cynicism, but I see this as Microsoft trying to raise a generation of tech users and admins who know nothing of the tech world beyond Windows.

Discount Certifications (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962847)

Seems like they're offering discount MS specific certifications, with a free retake if you fail. In short it seems like they're offering a whole load of taxdeductable services that relate to their own product lines, but with the PR and marketing machine that MS has behind them makes it look like they are actually helping America - good on them for trying.

I wonder if IBM or Oracle will have a similar strategy to "elevate" America?.....

So will these elevators be free? (3, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962855)

Cause I'm having a hard time justifying a $200 OS for my $300 laptop ... at least in the Real America that most of us live in.

Oh, and no takebacks on the Elevation, like they did with the firings of their staff and the pay they "overpaid" ...

Hey Microsoft! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962865)

Want to help more Americans become employed? How about you stop being such a vocal advocate for expanding H-1B visas?!?

Where on Earth.... (1)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962869)

...did anyone get the idea that Microsoft and IT bear any relationship to each other?

Oh, so they'll be teaching them... (3, Funny)

llamalad (12917) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962875)

Oh, so they'll be teaching them how to manage systems running real operating systems like AIX, Solaris, *BSD, and various flavors of Linux. Neat.

Good strategy for MS (3, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962893)

This is a good strategy for MS, much like what Apple had with school districts - teach as many people in ways that make them dependent on your proprietary technology as you can, and call it a public service.

In my opinion, the underlying problem in this economy is thus: The rich portion of the populace owns about as much as is possible before the economy collapses. Our market is based on speculation and expectation setting - on growth of money making schemes. But what happens when the players looking to take more resources run out of easy resources to grab? Collapse.

The poorer 3/4 of the country have spent about all they are going to spend, and have gone in about as deep a debt as is plasible. It no longer makes sense to lend more money, or leverage more resources in hopes of getting return from that process. The owning class already has already extracted as many resources as they easily can, and it would take death on the part of the poorest folks to free any more resources to grab.

The only way left to continue the desired cycle and free up credit would be to take resources from the rich, and give it to folks who would actually spend those resources in the process of just living day to day, which would open up the credit markets again, increase demand for products, and so on.

But we've seen what outrage occurs when that happens - the whole point of the market for the larger players is to extract more resources, not give money to the "undeserving!" So, we get schemes like those from Microsoft - push for further ownership of mindshare, and call it charity.

Ryan Fenton

Misleading introduction..! (4, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962903)

"...The new online initiative, Elevate America, is set to equip close to 2 million people (over the next three years) with the skills needed to succeed in the field of technology."

This would have been better and on point:

"...The new online initiative, Elevate America, is set to equip close to 2 million people (over the next three years) with the skills needed to succeed in using Microsoft technologies to perpetuate their proliferation while increasing dependence on such technologies at the same time."

The "Field of technology"? (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962905)

The new online initiative, Elevate America, is set to equip close to 2 million people (over the next three years) with the skills needed to succeed in the field of technology."

That's what I'd call a broad curriculum.

No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962921)

I can buy my own copy of Teach Yourself Visual Basic in 21 days.

Correction (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962933)

It should read, "... is set to equip close to 2 million people (over the next three years) with the skills needed to succeed in the field of Microsoft technology."

Oh hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962961)

Oh goddammit, figures I'd have to start grad school right before this started.

What a coincidence! I've got a stimulus plan too! (-1, Offtopic)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 4 years ago | (#26962979)

My stimulus plan is in my pants! Ladies, I think you know what I'm talking about. YEAH!

Help 'elevate' America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26962989)

...because we can't get it up on our own.

Just what the world needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963013)

The skills needed to succeed in technology are quite simple, "avoid Microsoft products". An army of drones employed to pour over Microsoft Knowledge Base articles is not a net boost to the economy.

Thanks to Microsoft for promoting the Broken Windows Fallacy [wikipedia.org] one more time.

Re:Just what the world needs (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963591)

pour [reference.com] is not a synonym for pore [reference.com] .

Homonyms are fun, kids!

Hilarious (2, Informative)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963041)

So they wan to help laid off workers, just not their own laid off workers?

Microsoft Bungles Severance, Asks Laid Off Workers for Money Back [eweek.com]

How Microsoft-esque

Re:Hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963585)

Oh, that was just coz of a software glitch!

Re:Hilarious (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963631)

They don't want to help laid-off workers, though. They say they do, but what they really want is to entrench themselves into the minds of "technologists" so that they have a viable business through the downturn of the economy.

Problem is that people are starting to realize you don't have to pay for a lot of good software, and in a down economy that's very important, more important than what's familiar. When someones time to learn Linux starts costing less than the Microsoft stuff they're used to, we'll start seeing a lot of movement to free software.

MS in the resume is bad for you (0)

edivad (1186799) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963045)

Get rid of any trace of MS in your resume, and you'll have a better chance to land a nice, challenging and rewarding job. As soon as I dropped the very first years of my experience (I know!! I didn't know back then) from the resume, offers started flowing in. Do it, it works every time!

Re:MS in the resume is bad for you (4, Interesting)

MikShapi (681808) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963391)

Bullshit.

Most interesting jobs are for people who can drive any car - whether it's a Toyota or a Renault.

We're a 50-50 linux shop (a big bank), and if you "I DON'T DO WINDOWS", we regard you as the same dogmatic crowd as "I'M SCARED OF LINUX, IT HAS A COMMAND LINE". The clueless crowd we don't hire.

If you're a professional systems engineer, you can manage anything (and code and script on it).

If you're dogmatic about a product, you're putting your religious beliefs (those that tack 'good' and 'evil' labels on things such as Microsoft, GNU or the open-source community) before the interests of your employer, and we wouldn't touch you with a 10-meter pole.

Best advice I can give is be ambivalent - get the fact you're a techie across. If you can sell yourself as an a-religious techie, you'll be in more demand.
Make a potential employer understand you'll do what is best for him, and you won't let your decisions for him be dictated either by your fear of one thing or religious dogma favoring the other.

Re:MS in the resume is bad for you (3, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963537)

I think the OP was suggesting that you create your CV full of Linux skills, and then watch as the recruiters direct you to Linux jobs.
If you have, say, AS/400 mentioned once, as an aside, in a small paragraph, using a tiny font, as a insignificant part of your first job, that you never even touched but the company once had an AS/400, I can guarantee you will get recruiters calling about whether your AS/400 skills are up to date enough to be a sysadmin!

Remove all traces of MS from your CV and you will get only interesting jobs - embedded, mobile, Linux. You won't get called for the crowd of MS vb.net jobs that are out there. You don't have to mention anything about hating Microsoft either! (and you get bonus points when you turn up to the interview and can do Windows too).

This post requires elevation (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963069)

Stupid UAC, look what it's come to. Now we have to elevate the entire COUNTRY just to make Vista usable.

Your tax dollars at work (5, Interesting)

vonWoland (615992) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963129)

The really brilliant part:

Elevate America has two main offerings, one available immediately and one that will be provided in partnership with state governments

Translation: MS will get money earmarked for retraining programs in order to flood the market with MS trained workers, depressing the wages of the latter and making their "TCO" so much more attractive.

You have to admire a company that is able to screw us coming and going.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963241)

It's better than outsourcing. Every time outsourcing comes up, people say, "Oh, these bastard firms are too cheap to actually train American workers!".

Well now an American firm is going to train American workers and everyone accuses them of trying to flood the market with cheap labor. Nice going. Microsoft is wrong when they fail to meet your demands, and when they do meet them.

Re:Your tax dollars at work (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963291)

Well now an American firm is going to train American workers and everyone accuses them of trying to flood the market with cheap labor.

Uh, Microsoft isn't going to train American workers in any generally-applicable sense. It is going to train people to use its products specifically (partially with its own money, partially "in cooperation with state governments" -- i.e., via public subsidies) as a way of improving its competitive position vis-a-vis other technology firms. Its essentially a PR stunt trying to sell an effort to get public subsidies to help reinforce Microsoft's existing market dominance as if this was somehow a benefit to the public.

So, will they help me get Linux training? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963131)

At my company, windoze admins are being laid off and linux admins are working overtime. If microsoft can help me develop and extend my linux skills portfolio I would appreciate it very much.

Out of Work? Losing Your Home? Hungry? (3, Funny)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963135)

Don't worry! Our MCSA will solve all your problems!

Fashionable to release stimulus packages (1)

tregeagle (192408) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963187)

It's fashionable to release stimulus packages at the moment. Everyone is doing it, why shouldn't Microsoft jump on the bandwagon. Of course those of a more cynical nature may construe this as just a trick to try and get more customers on board... The cynics may have something there.

The game remains the same but the presentation changes.

Funded by .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963199)

""" in partnership with state governments."""

I was wondering what MS's plans were for grabbing a share of the 700 billion.

The 'partnership' is that the state pays for the courses and for computers with Windows Vista/7 and Office 2007, and Microsoft gets the training revenue plus the software revenue plus a cut of the computer revenue and gets 2 million indoctrinated MS comsumers incapable of knowing anything else.

Am I wrong? (3, Interesting)

Mnemen (1054896) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963217)

But didn't Microsoft just cut their workforce? http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=11561 [zdnet.com]

  I am sure it wasn't all in the US, but still one hand saying hey lets help American workers get the skills they need to get a job, and then cutting thousands of workers seems to be a bit conflicting in their messaging...

yeah, right. (0, Troll)

jdcope (932508) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963235)

Microsoft doesnt care about whether or not Americans have jobs. Wasnt Bill Gates in the news recently bitching at Congress because he wants more H1B Visa workers allowed here?

How about you. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26963275)

Elevate my cock.

It is not about selling MS software ... (2, Insightful)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963323)

I think some /.ers miss the point when they suggest this is about selling MS software. This is not about increasing MS revenue by selling more software, this is about increasing MS revenue by selling courses and certifications.

I am so pissed with MS lately, after Bill left they switched over from "certifying qualified people to support their products" to "selling certifications". Red Hat and Cisco certs are the way to go, they do a better job of testing real world experience, Red Hat being the best.

For the record I have the following certs, MCP, MCTS, MCITP: Enterprise Adminstrator, MCSA, MCSA: Messaging, MCSE, MCSE: Messaging.

A Reactive Attack on Linux? (3, Interesting)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#26963529)

Several posters have mused that Microsoft's strategy is to flood the market with MSCEs and grow the market for themselves.

My general impression is that we've been hearing about organizations switching to Open Source solutions during the economic downturn due to lower costs.

Could this be Microsoft feeling threatened and reacting by counter-attacking?

Microsoft *is* big and is not going to die soon, that much is certain. But what's important is whether the trend is going up or down, and by how much. Being big just helps you control that (to some extent).

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