Microsoft Launches Digital Skills Initiative to Help 25 Million People Worldwide Post-COVID-19

The plan is to help provide new digital skills for those unable to do so by themselves.
Fabienne Lang

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it is rolling out a new initiative to help bring new digital skills to 25 million people around the world before the end of the year. 

The initiative is to help those who don't easily have access to these types of tools stay up to date with the changing economy and work situation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Those hardest hit by job losses will be able to access Microsoft's first. 


Economic distress during COVID-19

"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."

Microsoft's comprehensive package is set to build on data and digital technology to help both people and companies recover during this economically hard time. For instance, it will provide free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab. 

As per Microsoft's announcement, the company's package will focus on three main areas of activity: 

  1. "The use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them
  2. Free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require
  3. Low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs"

Moreover, Microsoft is providing $20 million in cash grants to nonprofit organizations worldwide, $5 million of which will go to community-based nonprofits that work for and are led by communities of color in the U.S.

A large focus of the initiative is to help the hardest-hit communities. "The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least," explained Microsoft President Brad Smith.

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"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."

As Microsoft's calculations point towards a quarter of a billion people losing their jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic, the company's learning package will most likely be welcomed with open arms.

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