Microsoft this week announced a series of new initiatives aimed at opening up new digital skills, including cash grants, data access, affordable Microsoft product certification, and new learning applications that are directly embedded in Microsoft Teams,media VentureBeat reported. The company said in a press release that it plans to help 25 million people around the world acquire the skills needed for the “COVID-19 economy” and hopes it will help accelerate the economic recovery, especially for those who are unemployed. In addition, the company said it plans to do so by the end of 2020.
Building on the LinkedIn LinkedIn Economic Graph, Microsoft has launched a new portal that uses LinkedIn’s employment database to digitally represent the global economy, providing market insights into skills and gaps in the job market – basically the jobs that are most needed, the best skills, and which companies are actively hiring for those positions. Businesses and policymakers can use the data to better understand local markets, available in 180 countries around the world.
In addition, Microsoft has identified the top 10 jobs in demand that are likely to continue to grow over the next decade. The criteria for listing cover factors such as available job openings, the availability of the living wage in general, the availability of online learning skills, and other factors:
1. Software developer
2. Sales Representative
3. Project Manager
Information Technology Administrator
5. Customer service expert
6. Digital marketing expert
7. IT Support Staff/Consultants
8. Data Analyst
9. Financial Analyst
10. Graphic Designer
At the same time, Microsoft will provide users with access to “learning paths” and resources to develop the skills of these jobs, which will be available from Tuesday until the end of March 2020, and include a series of videos to help job seekers get started correctly for each role. Microsoft will also link more technical roles to other resources and tools, including its robot-driven GitHub Learning Lab, where new programmers can practice new skills. In a separate blog post, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, said it would connect points through accreditation and gain industry-recognized Microsoft certification by providing “low-cost access” “based on an exam that demonstrates proficiency in Microsoft technology”.
These exams cover areas such as Azure Basics, Azure Data Basics, Data Analyst Associate, and Security Administrator Associates, and typically cost $100 or more, but those who declare that their work is affected by COVID-19 are only $15. These tests will be scheduled from September 2020 until the end of the year, although they must be completed by 31 March 2021.
In addition to putting its platform and training resources to work, Microsoft said it will also commit $20 million in grants and technical support to nonprofits. These grants are intended to support the expansion of Microsoft’s resources to tailor each market to each market, to translate into new languages, and to support teachers in deploying training and certification programs in their fields.
Non-profit organizations that started at the start include Trust for the Americas, Fondazione Mundo Digitale, Nasscom Foundation, Tech4Dev, NPower, National Urban League and Boral.
To take advantage of Microsoft Teams’ surge in the COVID-19 crisis to connect remote teams (and homes), Microsoft also said it would bring new learning capabilities to the communications and collaboration platform — not so much for job seekers as for building a “learning system” in the workplace.
Later in 2020, the company will offer a new learning application within Teams. According to Smith, it will make it easier for employers to integrate their training content, as well as resources from LinkedIn and Microsoft Learn, and will include mechanisms for managers to assign training, track progress, and get certified.
Microsoft seems to be trying to take advantage of the heat, because in the past three months, companies have welcomed remote work tools more than ever – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently said THAT COVID-19 has transformed digitally in just two months. For Microsoft Teams, this means it’s evolving into a full-fledged workplace platform that includes chat, conferencing, communication, collaboration, and learning.