The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica has opened a new center designed to provide software, training and digital literacy education to its youth members.

The Santa Monica club and Microsoft Corp. held a ceremony June 8 to dedicate the Club Tech Center of Excellence, an expansion of the decade-long partnership of Club Tech, a program to bring technology access and skills training to children across the country.

Club Tech Centers of Excellence are the latest feature of Club Tech, a program initiated in 2000 by a $100 million donation from Microsoft to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Currently, nearly one million kids and teens participate in the Club Tech program every year, according to Microsoft.

“Today’s kids are using technology in new ways not dreamed of even 10 years ago when we first launched Club Tech,” said Tyler Bryson, general manager of Enterprise and Partners Group, Southwest District, Microsoft. “To engage kids coming into the clubs, the experience must stay relevant, compelling and fun, so the Centers of Excellence represent the next generation of Club Tech.”

The centers incorporate the latest Microsoft software, space conducive for creative and collaborative work, and an expansive Club Tech curriculum such as newly added robotics programming and game development, a club spokesperson said.

“Here in Santa Monica, our members learn skills – ranging from routine word processing to designing web sites and restoring computers – that help them perform better in school and expand their future career opportunities,” said Aaron Young, Santa Monica club CEO. “We are grateful to Microsoft for this gift, which will help our youth develop the skills they need to succeed in life and help inspire them to reach their full potential to be great.”

The centers will offer members access to the latest Microsoft technology, including Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, and cutting-edge hardware.