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Microsoft and LinkedIn Expand Global Skills Initiative

To help job seekers gain the skills they need for employment in today's economy, Microsoft and LinkedIn are extending their global skills initiative through the end of 2021, providing free LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn courses as well as low-cost certifications that align to in-demand jobs. Areas of focus include customer service, project management, data analysis, software development and more.

"Over the past year, we've seen the pandemic hit people who can bear it the least," said Microsoft President Brad Smith, in a statement. "We are doubling down at LinkedIn and across Microsoft with new work to support a more inclusive skills-based labor market, creating more alternatives, greater flexibility, and accessible learning paths that connect these more readily with new jobs."

The companies are also creating new tools and platforms to help job seekers demonstrate their skills and connect with employers:

  • LinkedIn Skills Path, currently in the pilot phase, combines LinkedIn Learning courses with Skill Assessments the help employers source candidates based on their proven skills.
  • New LinkedIn profile personalization features, including a video Cover Story, will allow people to share more about themselves, demonstrate soft skills and elaborate on their career and goals.
  • Expanded access to LinkedIn's Skills Graph, an effort to "create a common skills language for individuals, employers, educational institutions and government agencies to help improve workforce planning, hiring and development programs."
  • Career Coach, an app within Microsoft Teams for Education, powered by LinkedIn, that provides personalized career guidance for higher education students. An AI-based skills identifier helps students discover their goals, interests and skills, and LinkedIn integration "aligns a student's comprehensive profile with job market trends and helps them grow real-world skills and connect with mentors and peers all in one place," according to the company.
  • Career Connector, a new online service from Microsoft that aims to provide 50,000 job seekers (particularly women and underrepresented minorities) with the opportunity to secure a tech-enabled job over the next three years.

"For a long time, the way people got hired was based solely on the job they had, the degree they earned or the people they knew. That's starting to change. Workers are now better understanding and articulating the skills they have and the skills they need while businesses are looking not just at those familiar credentials but also at the skills that workers from often- overlooked communities have to get the job done," commented LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky. "We want to help accelerate that change."

Further details are available in a Microsoft blog post.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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