Microsoft Corp. has launched its global skills initiative to add more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year in response to the global economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced on Tuesday.
"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 will expand access to digital skills to accelerate economic recovery and will assist in job training. The company will provide data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them, free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require and low-cost certifications to develop a skilled workforce.
The company’s technology initiative will build on data and digital technology by partnering with job seeking tools. The resources can all be accessed at a central location and will be available online in English, French, German and Spanish.
In addition, Microsoft will allocate $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organizations worldwide. $5 million will be provided in cash grants to community-based nonprofit organizations that are led by and serve communities of color in the United States.
Microsoft also announced it is creating a new learning app in Microsoft Teams designed to help employers skill and upskill new and current employees as people return to work and as the economy adds jobs.
"The biggest brunt of the current downturn is being borne by those who can afford it the least," said Microsoft president Brad Smith. "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."
Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.