Microsoft | Markle
Microsoft | Markle

Markle & Microsoft

A Partnership for the Digital Economy

Working in Partnership to Reform the Labor Market

The Markle Foundation and Microsoft Philanthropies are working in partnership to reform the labor market; unlocking opportunities for the more than two thirds of Americans without a four-year college degree; placing more value on skills; and supporting workers throughout their entire careers. Microsoft contributes considerable expertise and support, including committing more than $25 million to further this work in several areas, including accelerating the development and adoption of skills-based hiring and training practices.

Skillful is Markle’s flagship initiative, launched in Colorado in 2016 with Governor Hickenlooper, and now working with Governor Polis, to redirect the efforts of the state government, employers, and workforce development organizations to create a skills-based labor market in Colorado. In 2018, Skillful expanded to Indiana with the enthusiastic backing of Governor Holcomb, and in partnership with many key organizations across the state. The lessons learned from this initiative have helped to fuel the creation of the Skillful State Network, a bi-partisan collaboration among more than half the nation’s governors, representing 26 states, intent on creating a skills-based labor market.

Microsoft joined with 10 other founding member companies to form the Rework America Business Network (RABN). A Markle Foundation initiative, the Network is a consortium of 11 prominent U.S. companies dedicated to accelerating the development and adoption of innovative hiring and training practices. This year, the RABN has been working on a project to help employers better manage their workforces to meet evolving digital literacy skill needs.


Why Microsoft and The Markle Foundation Are Working Together to Connect Workers with New Opportunities in the Digital Economy

By Zoë Baird and Brad Smith

In June 2017 we announced a three year partnership between The Markle Foundation and Microsoft Philanthropies. Microsoft is investing more than $25 million over three years in Markle and the expansion of its successful Skillful initiative, first across Colorado and then to other states. This is one of the single biggest philanthropic investments Microsoft Philanthropies has made, reflecting the importance of the work involved. The workforce is undergoing an upheaval unlike anything we’ve seen since coal and steam propelled machines to the forefront of industry in the 19th Century. Technological advancements, like cloud computing, computer automation, and artificial intelligence, are demanding new skills and making long-familiar occupations almost unrecognizable. Here in the United States, millions of Americans, whose skills were valuable just a few years ago, find themselves underemployed—or worse, out of work altogether. On the flip side, employers who are digitally transforming their own operations are unable to find enough skilled workers to effectively run their businesses.

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Creating a Skills-Based Labor Market

Together, Markle and Microsoft are helping More Americans Gain the Skills Needed to Compete in the Digital Economy

Skillful Stories


The Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps Helps Coaches Better Serve Job Seekers

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Skillful Introduces New Tools to Employers

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Skillful West End Project Introduces New Tools and Keeps Local Talent Local

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How One Employer Used Skills-Based Practices to Recruit New Talent

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