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Microsoft plans to train 25 million workers for free in 2020

Microsoft Corp aims to provide free online classes and resources for job-hunting to 25 million people by the end of 2020 as a way to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The classes are going to be held on LinkedIn andGitHub online platforms and are expected to teach 10 highly demanded jobs. 

The training is available to workers across the globe and it is geared towards teaching digital skills. The pandemic, having created a more technology-dependent face of work, and Microsoft is on a quest to aid the development of digital skills ranging from data analysis, digital marketing, and help-desk services.  

Microsoft, leveraging data from its LinkedIn business, chose 10 job roles as a result of the growing demand for them as well as their potential to provide opportunities for a wide range of people – including those without college degrees.  

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s presidentcalled it “the largest skills initiative” explaining that Automation and artificial intelligence are changing the skills required for probably every occupation; hence, workers without digital skills will fall further and further behind.  

“Everything we envisioned when 2020 began has accelerated more quickly than we imagined. Even when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, equipping individuals with work skills will remain an extremely important priority for companies like us and for the economy as a whole.” 

Skills training in recent years has moved increasingly online, as providers of online classes like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and others have emerged, offering ease and affordability compared to traditional education options.  

A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs. Just last month, Bank of America noted that job training and career reskilling would be one of its four focus areas for $1 billion in funding for economic-opportunity initiatives over the next four years. In the same month, Walmart Foundation had also donated $6 million to Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization focused on identifying and scaling successful workforce-development programs. 

Microsoft will give users access to LinkedIn content for “learning paths” relating to the 10 jobs until the end of 2020. Its commitment also includes $20 million in grants to organizations that will support individuals using the free resources, as well as $5 million to companies that cater to the needs of communities of color. 

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