During the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home and social distancing measures, the global economic landscape has been transformed. Certainly, a major increase in unemployment has been left in COVID-19’s wake. Microsoft wants to be proactive in repositioning people to be able to find new jobs.

With that in mind, the company has created a new global skills initiative that aims to retrain workers. Specifically, the goal is to transition 25 million people around the world with more digital skills before the end of the year.

Microsoft is pooling resources from several divisions, as well as its GitHub and LinkedIn services.

By leveraging LinkedIn Economic Graph, Microsoft will use data on jobs to help users. Furthermore, Microsoft Learn, LinkedIn Learning, and the GitHub Learning Lab will become free. Moreover, Microsoft Certifications will be available at a lower cost than normal.

Microsoft’s global skills initiative rests on a three-point plan:

  1. The use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them;
  2. Free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require;
  3. Low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.

Building Employment Chances

Microsoft wants to train people to be prepared for job openings that do arrive in the new economic landscape. The company has identified 10 roles it envisions will have the greatest number of job openings based on consistent growth over the last four years.

Each of the roles below can be learned online:

  • Become a Software Developer
  • Become a Sales Representative
  • Become a Project Manager
  • Become an IT administrator (Prepare for CompTIA Network+ Certification)
  • Become a Customer Service Specialist
  • Become a Digital Marketing Specialist
  • Become IT Support / Help Desk (Prepare for the CompTIA A+ Certification)
  • Become a Data Analyst
  • Become a Financial Analyst
  • Become a Graphic Designer

Training

Microsoft wants to give people with some existing expertise in the above areas a base to expand their skills for new roles. Through free technical learning material through Microsoft Learn, job seekers can get skill-specific learning.

Microsoft Learn, a new app in Microsoft Teams, will provide free upskill courses for organizations to help existing and new employees. GitHub Learning Lab will fulfill a similar goal. This is the bot-based learning service from Microsoft-owned GitHub that Microsoft will leverage for coding and Git training.

Elsewhere, Microsoft’s LinkedIn will be used to help making finding and getting jobs easier. Microsoft says there are 4 LinkedIn Learning modules:

  • Job seeker – Finding a Job During Challenging Economic Times
  • Critical soft skills – Master In-Demand Professional Soft Skills
  • Digital transformation – Digital Transformation in Practice: Virtual Collaboration Tools
  • Allyship and inclusive conversations – Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All

Certification

Finally, Microsoft wants to make it easier for people around the world to get certificates from the company. It is launching low-cost Microsoft Certification, with exams now available for $15 to organizations who show their workforce was harmed by COVID-19.

The certificates include:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
  • Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate

These exams will be available in seven languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese (simplified), and Korean.

You can check out all the details about Microsoft’s global skills initiative in the blog post here.