Microsoft to help 25 million people acquire new digital skills
Tech giant Microsoft Corporation intends to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills needed for the Covid-19 economy.
The announcement comes in the aftermath of the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic as increased access to digital skills will expedite economic recovery, especially for the people hit hardest by job losses.
The new global skills initiative, detailed on the company’s blog, includes immediate steps to help those looking to reskill and pursue an in-demand job, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft.
· The use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them.
· Free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require.
· Low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.
The initiative, beginning with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph, will provide free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab, and will combine those with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job seeking tools.
These resources can all be accessed at a central location – opportunity.linkedin.com – and will be broadly available online in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish.
In addition, Microsoft is also giving away $20m in cash grants to help nonprofit organisations worldwide assist the people who need it the most.
One-quarter of this amount – tantamount to $5m, will be provided in cash grants to community-based nonprofit organisations that are led by and serve communities of colour in the US.
The company is also pledging to make stronger data and analytics — including data from the LinkedIn Economic Graph — available to governments around the world so they can better assess local economic needs.
Microsoft is also creating a new learning app in Microsoft Teams designed to help employers skill and upskill their workforce as people return to work.
“Covid-19 has created both a 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.
“Today, we’re bringing together resources from Microsoft inclusive of LinkedIn and GitHub to re-imagine how people learn and apply new skills — and help 25 million people facing unemployment due to Covid-19 prepare for the jobs of the future.”
“The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least,” noted Microsoft President Brad Smith.
“Unemployment rates are spiking for people of color and women, as well as younger workers, people with disabilities and individuals with less formal education. Our goal is to combine the best in technology with stronger partnerships with governments and nonprofits to help people develop the skills needed to secure a new job.”
Read: Microsoft permanently closes all but four retail stores worldwide
The tech giant announced last month that it would operate only four physical stores, one each in New York City, London, Sydney, and Redmond – shuttering down all the rest.