2 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation As of April 2014, the Foundation is organized into four program areas under chief executive officer Susan Desmond-Hellmann who "sets strategic priorities, monitors results, and facilitates relationships with key partners":Global Development DivisionGlobal Health DivisionUnited States DivisionGlobal Policy & Advocacy Division
3 With their existing infrastructure, dedicated staff, and mission to connect individuals to information, libraries are uniquely suited to offering public Internet access and training to people who would otherwise be left behind in the digital world.If libraries can reinvent themselves and embrace their role as online information centers, the impact on individuals and communities will be significant.Public libraries are already teaching farmers and fishermen to use the Internet to promote their products and get current market prices.
4 Efforts to identify strong library leaders and equip them to create high-impact libraries. Through leadership training, they can learn ways to foster a culture of innovation and risk taking, collaborate with others in the library field, create and test new service models, and engage community members and other stakeholders in the design and delivery of library services.For example, one effort we support is the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI), a network of library leaders around the world who have skills and experience in developing innovative services for users.
5 Efforts to create library programs and services that can be replicated on a broad scale and customized for different settings.Their primary focus is supporting technology access in public libraries on a national scale, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies.They also have a longstanding commitment to U.S. libraries.Each of these interventions focuses on long-term support from governments to ensure financial and service sustainability.
6 They provide multi-year grants to government institutions or intermediary organizations in countries with a high need for public access to information and a readiness to implement technology access in public libraries.Their grants fund efforts to understand local information and technology needs, purchase equipment for libraries, train library staff, and help libraries build public support for long-term funding.Since 2002, they have supported nearly 13,000 libraries around the world that have provided training to more than 20,000 staff and over 1.5 million users.
7 They work to ensure adequate resources and public policy support for libraries, and we help public libraries, library staff, and the library field measure the impact of public access in libraries and strengthen their advocacy skills.Our efforts in this area include the creation of a common measurement system for collecting data about how libraries contribute to key development issues such as health, education, and economic opportunity.We also funded a 17-country study in the European Union to measure users’ perceptions about the benefits of information technology in public libraries
8 . In addition, with the assistance of the Global Libraries Advocacy Work Group, an international network of library advocacy specialists, we have developed a training curriculum to help build the advocacy skills and confidence of public library staff so they can ensure adequate funding and resources to meet the information needs of their communities.
9 So the Gates Foundation, in connection with an organization called Innovate+Educate, is working on a program called the New Options Project, lead by Cobb.It acts like an alternative to a traditional college education, somewhat like a cross between a vocational school and an exam. Employers in a region can work with the program to develop a skill based credentialing system .People can take the test to show mastery of a skill or aptitude and get more training from there.Innovate+Educate says skills-based hiring fills jobs faster than traditional methods, and finds candidates who need less training and are less likely to quit.
10 The ideal there is creating a skills-based credential that is well trusted and well understood enough that employers view it as a true alternative to a degree.