Microsoft introduced its new global skills initiative to provide digital skills to more than 25 million people worldwide who have been displaced by the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made during a Microsoft digital event on Tuesday, shedding light on the significant impact COVID-19 has had on employment, as well as introducing a new learning app to Microsoft Teams.
“People are contributing in new ways in essential roles, which have been overlooked and undervalued, to keep our society and economy functioning amidst this pandemic,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, during the digital event.
“In this time of change, people are hungry to learn, gain new skills, and grow their economic opportunity. It’s been forecasted 800 million people need to learn new skills for their jobs by 2030,” Nadella said.
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“COVID-19 has made the skills gap even more acute—it’s exacerbating economic inequity. People of color, people with disabilities, women…and those who have less formal education are bearing the brunt of this unemployment crisis,” Nadella added.
Microsoft estimated that global unemployment in 2020 could reach a quarter of a billion. To help prevent this from occurring, the tech company announced a mitigation strategy grounded in three principles: Use data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them; free access to learning paths and content to help people develop those skills; and low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people pursue new jobs.