Microsoft extends its digital skills courses, programs to offset COVID-19's economic impact

Microsoft is re-upping its commitment to help build digital skills with its software, services and learning assets, building on an initiative it first launched last year.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is following up on its June 2020 digital skills initiative with more certifications, programs, and software/services. The newest round of resources is meant to help those directly and indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said on March 30 that since last June, the company has helped more than 30 million people gain access to digital skills via its various programs and services. To further this access, Microsoft is going to provide free digital-skills courses for the ten most in-demand jobs and low-cost certifications through Dec. 31, 2021. The ten: Software developer, sales representative, project manager, IT administrator, customer service specialist, digital marketing specialist, IT support/help desk pro, data analyst, financial analyst, graphic designer.

Additionally, via Microsoft Career Connector online platform -- which is focused on skill-building via Microsoft's nonprofit and learning partners -- officials said they will place 50,000 job seekers in tech-enabled jobs over the next three years.

Microsoft also is launching a pilot of LinkedIn Skills Path, which officials described "as a new way to help companies hire for skills." The pilot will bring together LinkedIn Learning courses with Skill Assessments, which Microsoft says will help recruiters source candidates in a better way, based on their proven skills.

Other announcements today include a Career Coach Microsoft Teams app that will provide personalized guidance for higher education students; expanded access to the LinkedIn Skills Graph for individuals, employers, educational institutions, and government agencies working on workforce planning, hiring, and development programs; and new LinkedIn profile features that include a video Cover Story to help job seekers show off their soft skills to recruiters and hiring managers.

Today's announcements build on Microsoft's commitment last June to help 25 million people worldwide access new digital skills. (Microsoft actually surpassed that number and reached 30 million, officials said.) 

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