Microsoft Corp on Tuesday announced a new global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year.
The announcement comes in response to the global economic crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic and will bring together every part of the company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft.
“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, adding, “today, we’re bringing together resources from Microsoft inclusive of LinkedIn and GitHub to reimagine 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 comprehensive technology initiative will build on data and digital technology. It will give people access to data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph, provide free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couple these with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools. These resources will be available online in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish.
Microsoft also announced that it is creating a new learning app in Microsoft Teams designed to help employers skill and upskill new and current employees as people return to work and as the economy adds jobs. The app will empower managers to assign and track learning progress and enable employees to have conversations around the content while also earning certifications and recognition for their new skills.
In addition, Microsoft is backing the effort with $20 million in cash grants to assist nonprofit organizations worldwide. In India, Microsoft has partnered with Nasscom Foundation and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to directly train 2,000 young women and trainers at the Industrial Training Institutes on skills leading to Microsoft Certification.
“The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least," said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “Unemployment rates are spiking for people of color and women, as well as younger workers, people with disabilities, and individuals who have 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."