Last year, Microsoft launched its global initiative aimed at digital skills learning. Since then, it has trained over 30.7 million people in new skills, over 5 million more than it had hoped. And this year, it’s expanding the initiative to reach an even wider audience.
“Our plans are grounded in a vision of what is needed for a more inclusive post-pandemic recovery,” Microsoft president Brad Smith writes. “A new generation of 21st-century infrastructure calls for new investments that will broaden access to the digital devices and broadband connectivity that have become the lifeblood of commerce, healthcare[,] and education. And it similarly calls for a renewed commitment to the education and skills that a new generation of technology has made essential for people’s personal progress.”
The Microsoft global skills initiative combines new and existing LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft resources and was originally designed to encompass three areas of activity: 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, and low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.
With this year’s expansion, Microsoft is bringing in partners and extending its free content and certification offerings to the end of 2021. It’s putting LinkedIn at the center of the experience to build a new skills language for individuals, employers, educational institutions, and government agencies. And it is bringing LinkedIn Learning courses together with Skill Assessments to help recruiters find candidates based on their proven skills.
The firm says it is also bringing together every part of Microsoft to supplement LinkedIn’s work to promote far-reaching digital skilling opportunities. This includes a wide range of offerings, from Minecraft: Education Edition for K-12, Microsoft MakeCode Arcade, which is adding a Beginner Skillmap guide, Microsoft MakeCode, which is adding a new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles curriculum for high school students, and a new Teams for Education app powered by LinkedIn, called Career Coach, aimed at higher education. And Viva Learning, coming in preview in April, will provide a central hub for learning where people can discover, share, recommend and learn from content libraries across an organization.
There is a dizzying array of other offerings that fall into this initiative, so you’re interested in learning more, it’s worth checking out the original post.