Industry

Microsoft to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills needed for the COVID-19 economy

Microsoft said it would back the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help non-profit organizations worldwide assist the people who need it most.

Microsoft said it would back the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help non-profit organizations worldwide assist the people who need it most.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Expanded access to digital skills is an important step in accelerating economic recovery, especially for the people hardest hit by job losses, said the company in a webcast

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of this year. 

The announcement 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, said the company in a webcast.

“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 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.”

This is a comprehensive technology initiative that will build on data and digital technology. It starts with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph. It provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couples these 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, said Microsoft.

Microsoft said it would  back the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organizations worldwide assist the people who need it most.

“The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least,” saidMicrosoft 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.”

According to Microsoft calculations, global unemployment in 2020 may reach a quarter of a billion people. “It is a staggering number. The pandemic respects no border,” Mr Smith said.

He noted that within only a few months, COVID-19 has provoked a massive demand shock, setting off job losses that far exceed the scale of the Great Recession a decade ago. The world will need a broad economic recovery that will require in part the development of new skills among a substantial part of the global workforce, he said.

The company expects that in the shorter-term COVID-19 will continue to lead to unprecedented reliance on digital skills. In many situations, some workers may spend several months or longer in a “hybrid economy,” where some will be in the workplace while others continue to work from home. “With continued consumer and employee reliance on almost “remote everything,” we can expect digitization of the economy to continue to advance at an accelerated speed. And as companies respond to a recession by increasing efficiency, this need for digital transformation will increase even further,” Mr Smith said.

He added that the economic recovery will take place amid the longer-term and already-unfolding wave of automation based on the new technologies that underpin what some have called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Over the next five years, we estimate that the global workforce can absorb around 149 million new technology-oriented jobs. Software development accounts for the largest single share of this forecast, but roles in related fields like data analysis, cyber security, and privacy protection are also poised to grow substantially,” he said.

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of this year.

The announcement 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, said the company in a webcast.

“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 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.”

This is a comprehensive technology initiative that will build on data and digital technology. It starts with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph. It provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couples these 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, said Microsoft.

Microsoft said it would back the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help non-profit organizations worldwide assist the people who need it most.

“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 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 non-profits to help people develop the skills needed to secure a new job.”

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 12:06:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/microsoft-to-help-25-million-people-worldwide-acquire-new-digital-skills-needed-for-the-covid-19-economy/article31958543.ece

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