Microsoft Corporation has announced a new global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year.
This comes in response to the global economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanded access to digital skills is an important step in accelerating economic recovery, especially for the people hardest hit by job losses.
The initiative includes immediate steps to help those looking to reskill and pursue an in-demand job and brings together every part of the company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft.
This includes 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.
In addition, Microsoft is backing the effort with 20 million dollars in cash grants to help non-profit organisations worldwide assist the people who need it most.
“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.
“We are 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.”
Microsoft President Brad Smith said the biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least.
“Unemployment rates are spiking for people of colour 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.”
Microsoft said it will also use its voice to advocate for public policy innovations that will advance skilling opportunities needed in the changing economy.