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Microsoft Aims to Train 25 Million Job Strugglers by End of Year

Manual jobs are more at risk due to the worldwide digital transformation

Manual jobs are more at risk due to the worldwide digital transformation. Source: Global skills initiative coverage by Microsoft

Microsoft intends to provide free online job training through its company, LinkedIn, to 25 million people by the end of this year. The goal: to help those who have been hit by unemployment, furloughs and reduced paychecks to acquire new digital skills as part of accelerating the economic recovery. According to analysis by the company and by the Congressional Budget Office, worldwide unemployment in 2020 could reach 250 million people — with 21 million of them in the United States alone.

The details, which appeared in a Microsoft blog article, referenced:

  • The use of data from LinkedIn's Economic Graph to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them;
  • Free access to learning content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab, coupled with discounted Microsoft certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools; and
  • $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofits around the world help the people who need help the most; at least a quarter of that will be dedicated to local organizations that are run by and serve communities of color.

What jobs appear to have the greatest potential for job openings, pay a "livable wage" and require skills that can be picked up online? Microsoft identified 10 of them, all of which have learning pathways that can be pursued through the various programs:

  • Software developer;
  • Sales representative;
  • Project manager;
  • IT administrator;
  • Customer service specialist;
  • IT support/help desk;
  • Data analyst;
  • Financial analyst; and
  • Graphic designer.

The resources and information are being housed at a new website on LinkedIn.

Simultaneously, the company said it was creating a new learning app for its web conferencing and collaboration application, Microsoft Teams, to help employers train new and current employees as people return to work and as the economy adds jobs. The app is expected to be done this year and will "bring learning into the natural flow of work." Employers will be able to integrate content from their own sources as well as LinkedIn Learning and others.

"The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least," said Microsoft President Brad Smith, in a statement "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."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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