Building a more inclusive skills-based economy: The next steps for our global skills initiative
Last summer, we launched a global skills initiative to reach 25 million worldwide. Nine months later, we have helped more than 30 million people, learned from our projects and are ready to launch the next phase in our work. Today, I’m excited to join my colleague and LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky to share the details. As you’ll see below, this extends our work, expands our vision and commits Microsoft and LinkedIn to a new promise to help 250,000 companies make a skills-based hire in 2021.
COVID-19 has led to record unemployment numbers, disrupting livelihoods of people around the world. A century ago, the United States and other governments responded to the twin crises created by the Great Depression and World War II by investing in the infrastructure and people of their time.
By 1970, America’s high school graduation rate reached 80%, compared to 6% when the century began. Perhaps more than any other single indicator, this explains why the 20th century not only boosted economic productivity but distributed its benefits so broadly.
Not surprisingly, when you pursue a global skills initiative that reaches more than 30 million people, you learn a lot yourself. The good news is that most people everywhere want to learn new digital skills. We also connected people to Microsoft Learn for free, interactive, hands-on training on in-demand technical skills for Microsoft products and services.
30,681,893 participants in 249 countries and territories
As Ryan outlines in his blog, we are committed to an expansive skilling vision across LinkedIn and Microsoft. LinkedIn is at the heart of Microsoft’s efforts in this area, and other parts of the company will build upon and complement its advances.
I’m perhaps most excited about the work LinkedIn is announcing today to help build the infrastructure needed for more effective skilling worldwide. It’s as if the modern world has created its own skilling version of the ancient Tower of Babel.
We were especially persuaded by the insights offered by Black Lives Matter and created a special focus on Black and African Americans in the United States. As part of the initiative, Microsoft Philanthropies has invested $20 million in grants to nonprofits around the world to help people from underserved communities that are often excluded by the digital economy. This total includes $5 million in grants to 50 Black and African-American-led and -serving digital skilling and workforce development nonprofits in the United States.
A global village comprised of private enterprises, employers, governments and nonprofits will need to join together to create the digital skilling opportunities to meet this challenge.
Governments will have a critical leadership role to play, including by providing support for people with greater needs and economic incentives for smaller businesses. And as we’ve seen firsthand, the nonprofits of the world will be indispensable in the front-line work needed to make digital equity a reality.
Mar 30, 2021 at 21:26