As announced, the skills acquisition initiative is a response to the global economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic through which the company plans to expand access to digital skills, as an important step in accelerating economic recovery, especially for people with the hardest hit by job losses. This initiative includes immediate steps that will combine 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. 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,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
This initiative will build on data and digital technology, starting 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 those with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job seeking tools. The company also stated that these resources can all be accessed at a central location, opportunity.linkedin.com, and will be available online in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish.
“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 color and women, as well as younger workers, people with disabilities and individuals with 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,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft.
Microsoft also announced that it is backing the initiative with $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organizations worldwide assist the people who need it most. Out of the total grant, $5 million will be provided in cash to community-based nonprofit organizations that are led by and serve communities of color in the United States.
The company is also pledging to make stronger data and analytics including data from the LinkedIn Economic Graph available to governments around the world to help them better assess local economic needs.