Announcing Microsoft's next steps to help the world learn new skills

Announcing Microsoft’s next steps to help the world learn new skills

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Today, we’re launching the next step in our Skills for Jobs program, providing free access to 350 courses and six new Career Essentials Certificates for six of the most in-demand jobs in the digital economy. Using data from LinkedIn and the Burning Glass Institute, we analyzed job listings to determine six of the roles in greatest demand: Administrative Professional, Project Manager, Business Analyst, Systems Administrator, Software Developer or Data Analyst.  We’ll also be offering up to 50,000 LinkedIn Premium subscriptions to help learners from nonprofit partners of Microsoft and LinkedIn, who complete a career certificate, get access to the 18,000 LinkedIn Learning courses offered through Premium. And this skilling content is available to anyone, right now, at – completely free, no fee, no paid subscription. In addition, we are announcing a partnership between Microsoft and the Project Management Institute to launch the Power Platform University Hub, which will provide students with an integrated curriculum focused on using low-code platforms to accelerate digital transformation.  

These roles show explosive demand: Project Manager, for example, is a job field that will see tremendous growth – the global economy is estimated to need 25 million new project professionals by 2030, according to the Project Management Institute. For these new certifications, we developed new content, localization, and technology to support learners looking to move into these roles. This ranges from four hours of skilling content for the Digital Literacy learning path to nearly 15 for the Project Manager certificate.  

We’ve also developed three new learning paths that set Foundational Skills – Digital Literacy & Productivity, Soft Skills and Entrepreneurship so that anyone, regardless of their current digital fluency level, can pursue a Career Essential Certificate. These certificates and Foundational Skills courses will be available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese. 

Today’s launch builds on our Global Skills Initiative. To date, we’ve helped 80 million jobseekers around the world access digital skilling resources. By 2025, we’ll help train and certify 10 million people with  skills for in demand jobs.  

Career Essential Certificates & New Learning Paths 

2020 was a hard year for workers. In the United States, we saw “job loss in the labor market on a scale not seen since the Great Depression,” according to the Department of Labor, a trend mirrored in many countries around the world. We knew the world would look vastly different on the other side of the pandemic, where digital skills would be more important than ever. That’s why in June 2020 we launched our global skills initiative, aimed at bringing digital skills to people around the world, especially those hardest hit by job losses, including those with lower incomes, women, and underrepresented minorities. 

Digital skills are more important than ever, almost every job requires some level of digital fluency, and the pandemic has only accelerated that change. Everyone will need digital skills to pursue in-demand roles and build livelihoods in this changing economy, just as fluency in sustainability is becoming a needed skill for careers. 

Tech and tech-enabled roles are high-wage, high-growth jobs, but people from historically excluded communities are consistently underrepresented in technology. That isn’t right, which is why our skilling work has always put diversity at the forefront of its work, including our Cybersecurity Skills Initiative’s focus on closing the gender gap in the global cybersecurity workforce. This new chapter is no different, and together with our partners, we can help people excluded from the digital economy because of race, gender, geography, displacement, or other barriers gain the skills they need for new jobs and livelihoods.   

What we learned  

Skills alone clearly aren’t enough for people to get the jobs they want. People, especially those changing careers, need to be able to show hiring managers that they have these skills. For many, that comes in the form of a college degree, an internship, or an apprenticeship. But for many others – especially people looking to make a midcareer transition or those seeking to deepen their expertise, industry-recognized certifications are a big help.  

The ability to learn and showcase in-demand skills is critical to helping people get a foot in the door with a new company or finding a new role within their organization. For many professions, certifications have emerged as key to this, with the number of people on LinkedIn who’ve added certifications to their profile increasing 44% over the last two years. And research from Pearson VUE indicates that certified employees earn an average of 15 percent more than their uncertified colleagues, 23 percent of those that received a certification were able to find new jobs in the same industry, and 21 percent earned a promotion or saw job advancement.  

This is exactly why we’re creating these certificates: to help job seekers showcase their skills to prospective employers. Upon completion of a learning path, learners will receive a LinkedIn badge indicating that they’ve earned a certificate, demonstrating fluency in a topic, which we believe will help the job seeker stand out in the market. 

How this will work 

Another major learning from our global skills initiative is that governments and proven local partners are often the best means of delivering customized skilling and employment services at scale. These courses and learning pathways are available today for anyone that wishes to learn a new skill, completely free and we’ll also be providing grants to nonprofit partners around the world who are providing skilling resources and training to their communities. These organizations are already working on the ground and trusted by their communities, and by providing them with additional resources and funding, we can help amplify their impact within their communities without duplicating or complicating work. We’ll provide them with train-the-trainers support, access to low-cost industry recognized certificates, and ongoing support throughout this effort. And finally, we’ll work with partners in government and the private sector , providing our skilling resources and expertise to help with their own efforts.  

Power Platform University Hub with Project Management Institute 

Additionally, we are working with the Project Management Institute (PMI), a nonprofit professional organization for project management to upskill students. Through the Power Platform University Hub, students learn to use low code platforms to accelerate digital transformation for businesses and other institutions. This will help address the app gap resulting from the growing need among organizations and companies to create apps, but not enough trained professionals and graduates available to build them. There is huge demand for employees who can innovate to help solve today’s business problems including how to streamline business processes, gain efficiencies, improve business intelligence, and ultimately drive digital transformation across the organization. Students who complete the curriculum will receive two certifications: a PMI Citizen Developer Practitioner micro-credential and a Microsoft PL-100 Power Platform App Maker certification. To learn more, click here

Our hope 

The pandemic changed the world, accelerating trends that were already beginning, transforming the way we do business, creating new jobs and new paths to prosperity. But we need to provide people with the skills they need to fill those jobs and ensure economic opportunity is inclusive —for every country, every community, every business, and every person.   

I hope you’ll consider sharing a link to this blog or our skilling website with anyone you might know that is interested in learning new skills or finding a new career. 

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