Microsoft is Empowering Older Americans to Live More Productive and Independent Lives Through Technology – Stories

MicrosoftisEmpoweringOlderAmericanstoLiveMoreProductiveandIndependentLivesThroughTechnology

AtarecentmeetingoftheU。

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SenatesSpecialCommitteeonAging,CraigSpiezle,Microsoftsdirectorofmarketdevelopment,wasinvitedtoexplainhowtheInternetandpersonalcomputer(PC)technologycanextendtheworkingyearsofolderAmericanswhilehelpingthemleadricherandmoreproductivepersonallives。

CitingauthorandbusinessmanagementguruPeterDrucker,SpiezletoldthecommitteethatfewerAmericanstodayareretiringatage55or60。

Anincreasingnumberremainemployedwellintotheir70sandbeyondandthistrendwillcontinue。

Whilemanychoosetocontinueworking,othersworkbecausetheycannotaffordtoretire,Spiezlesaid。

ThemoreseniorAmericanslearnaboutusingcomputersinthemodernworkplace,themoreemployabletheybecomeandthemorelikelytheyaretoretaintheirjobs。

AccordingtoSpiezle,notonlyisthatimportantformanyolderAmericans,itisalsovitalfortheU。

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economy。

Duringthepastfiveyearsalone,theinformationtechnologyindustryhasgeneratedaquarteroftherealeconomicgrowthintheUnitedStatesandnowaccountsformorethan8percentofournationaloutput。

Amajorimpedimenttocontinuedeconomicgrowth,however,istheshortageofskilled,high-technologyworkers。

Rightnow,over340,000high-techjobsaregoingunfilledintheUnitedStates,Spiezlesaid。

Inordertomeetthischallengehead-onandcontinuetogrowoureconomy,weneedtoinvestnowinthetremendoushumanresourcesthathavemadeAmericagreat,bypromotinglifelongtrainingandlearningforallofourpeople。

MicrosoftseesAmericasseniorcommunityasanimportantnationalassetthatcanhelpachievethegoalofbuildingaskilledworkforcetomeettheneedsoftheU。

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economy。

WeviewmatureAmericansasakeysolutiontothisskillsgapandoverthepast12monthswehaveinstitutedabroadrangeofprogramstotapthewealthofexperienceseniorsbringtotheworkplace,Spiezlesaid。

Microsoftrecentlycompletedmorethan700LifetimeConnectionsseminarsinconjunctionwiththeAmericanAssociationofRetiredPersons(AARP)andwithsupportfromSeniorNet,whichintroducedmorethan70,000seniorstotheworldofcomputersandtheInternet。

MicrosoftalsohasbeenworkingcloselywithorganizationssuchasGreenThumbandtheNationalCouncilonAgingtodevelopwidespreadtrainingprogramstohelpthousandsofseniors,dislocatedanddisadvantagedworkerslearntheskillstheyneedtore-entertheworkforceandbeginnewcareers。

Wearenottalkingabouttechnologysimplyfortechnologyssake,Spiezlesaid。

Wearetalkingabouthowtechnologycanfosterindependentliving,createvirtualcommunities,unitefamiliesfromallcornersoftheworld,expandeducation,creativityandproductivity,andperhapsmostimportantly,extendemployabilityforallAmericans。

Americansover60representthefastestgrowingsegmentofcomputerandInternetusers,yetfewerthan5percentofseniorhouseholdsownandactivelyuseacomputer,comparedto45percentofU。

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householdsoverall。

Morethantwo-thirdsofseniorswithoutPCssaytheysimplydontseetheneed。

Whenmanyofthemwerechildren,theirparentsgavethesameresponsewhenradioandTVwereintroduced,Spiezletoldthesenators。

Butthisattitudealmostalwayschangeswiththerecognitionthatsuchtechnologypresentstheopportunitytobeemployedinagoodpayingjob,extendonesindependenceandallowindividualstoremainproductiveandcreative。

AccordingtoSpiezle,researchamongolderAmericanswhodousePCsshowsthatseniorsseecomputersasanintegralpartoftheirsuccess,continuedindependentlivingandemployability。

ThistechnologycanhelpallAmericansliveabetterlifeandmatureAmericansarenotexception,Spiezlesaid。