Microsoft announced a new global skills initiative which is aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people by the end of the year.
This move by Microsoft is in response to the global economic crisis which has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has created both public health and an economic crisis, and as the world recovers, we need to ensure no one is left behind,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
According to Microsoft’s calculations, global unemployment in 2020 may reach a quarter of a billion people, which is a staggering number by any measure. The company says the pandemic has shined a harsh light on what was already a widening skills gap around the world.
“This longer-term disconnect between supply and demand for skills in the labor market appears to be driven by three primary long-term factors: (1) the rapid emergence of AI-powered technologies that are propelling a new era of automation; (2) the growing need for technological acumen to compete in a changing commercial landscape; and (3) the drop-off in employer-based training investments over the past two decades. Navigating these challenges to close the skills gap will require a renewed partnership between stakeholders across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors,” the company says.
This initiative includes steps to help those who are looking to reskill and pursue an in-demand job. It involves using several Microsoft assets, which combine existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft.
It includes the use of data to identify in-demand jobs, free access to learning paths and content to develop the skills and low-cost certifications, and free job-seeking tools to develop these tools.
This will involve free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab and couples those with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools. This will be available on a central hub at opportunity.linkedin.com and will be available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, French, and German.
Microsoft will also give $20 million in cash grants to help non-profits worldwide assist people who need it the most. Microsoft also pledges to make stronger data and analytics that includes data from LinkedIn Economic Graph available to governments around the world so they can better assess local economic needs.
Microsoft details more information about this initiative on their blog here.