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CIBC Foundation launches new initiative with Microsoft to help close digital skills gap across Canada

$850,000 committed to help advance inclusive growth in technology

TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2022 /CNW/ - CIBC announced today a new Social Impact Alliance launched together with Microsoft Canada, which will focus on closing the digital skills gap by providing new education and employment opportunities in the technology sector and ensuring equal access for all communities across the country.

To support this goal, the CIBC Foundation and Microsoft will be working with NPower Canada and March of Dimes Canada to accelerate skills training and development, as well as create access to careers in technology. The CIBC Foundation and Microsoft have committed a total of $850,000

"This initiative is an important part of the work that we are doing through our CIBC Foundation to help build an inclusive economy and create access to opportunities in all communities," said Sandy Sharman, Group Head, People, Culture and Brand, CIBC, and Co-Chair, CIBC Foundation. "We are looking forward to helping more individuals, particularly Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and underserved youth, get the support and resources they need to grow and achieve their ambitions."

"This alliance helps bring to life our commitment to support inclusive economic opportunities by fostering the growth of diverse tech talent across Canada," said Chris Barry, President of Microsoft Canada. "By working alongside our program partners and supporting their incredible efforts, together we can shape the future of our digital economy."

Funding from this initiative will help expand the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator program, launched by NPower Canada to address the digital skills gap across Canada. The program will expand into Quebec to help prepare Francophone job seekers attain careers in growing sectors. Funding will also help build capacity in the program for individuals facing barriers to employment, such as youth, people of colour, new Canadians, members of the LGBTQ+ community and persons with disabilities.

"NPower Canada's ongoing partnership with Microsoft and the CIBC Foundation has allowed us to maximize our impact and serve those that need it most," said Julia Blackburn, CEO, NPower Canada. "The new funding will help us launch our fifth national site in Quebec, and offer our workforce development programs to provide much-needed digital training and employment services to both Francophone and Anglophone communities of the province."

In addition, the CIBC Foundation and Microsoft will be working with March of Dimes Canada to support its Skilling Up program aimed at helping persons with disabilities develop in-demand skills for careers in communications and information technology. The program also equips employers with research, tools and the resources they need to help build an inclusive workplace.

"We believe in a future that is inclusive and equitable, which is why we are excited to work with Microsoft and the CIBC Foundation to collectively help Canadians with disabilities gain new skills for a more digital economy," says Lesley Smith, Vice President of Employment Services, March of Dimes Canada. "We're committed to supporting job seekers in gaining access to the skills, training and certifications required, and to prepare the current and future workforces for the digital economy and growing tech-enabled jobs."

In addition, through the Social Impact Alliance, the CIBC Foundation and Microsoft are committed to helping support and broaden the Government of Canada's IT Apprenticeship Program for Indigenous Peoples. This vital program creates opportunities for Indigenous peoples who are passionate about working in the Information Technology sector.

"The IT Apprenticeship Program for Indigenous Peoples was developed for, by, and with Indigenous peoples," said James Heffernan, Executive Director, Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Employment and Social Development Canada. "By focusing on a person's passion and potential, we are able to remove barriers to employment and meet individuals where they are on their life journey. A supportive, inclusive, integrated learning environment makes it easier for people to share their gifts and talents while developing the skills and competencies that are in demand in the public and private sectors. Indigenous IT apprentices become part of the Government of Canada's digital workforce in areas that interest them. This initiative represents real empowerment in support of economic, employment, and educational reconciliation."

Launched in 2021, the CIBC Foundation aims to create greater access to opportunities and remove limits to ambition. The foundation helps fund charitable organizations that focus on increasing access to education and employment opportunities for underserved communities. 

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with 13 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Through the CIBC Foundation and the genuinely caring culture of Team CIBC, we are committed to helping people and our communities make their ambitions a reality. Learn more about our community impact. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information: Contacts: CIBC: Katarina Milicevic, CIBC Communications & Public Affairs, or 416-784-6108; Microsoft: Veronica Langvee, Microsoft Canada Communications, or 905-467-4796.