25 million people worldwide could be laid off due to the pandemic

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Microsoft

Microsoft launches free online training program to help them

Microsoft president Brad Smith announced on Tuesday, during a virtual event, that the company will offer free online courses to candidates all over the world who had been laid off during the pandemic and are looking for job opportunities in popular fields such as tech and finance.

The announcement came as the US is reporting record unemployment rates, and by the end of the year, up to 25 million people could be jobless by the end of the year, according to Microsoft.

As part of the program, anyone who has lost their job or simply wants to reskill can access learning resources for free or watch video courses and then obtain a certification. The courses cover everything from digital literacy to more advanced topics, such as AI and automation. To offer these courses, Microsoft brought together more branches of the company, including GitHub and LinkedIn.

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, there are talented people everywhere, but unfortunately, not all of them have access to the tools they need to succeed and find a job. Microsoft’s mission, with this online learning initiative, was to give them free access to a digital system of learning so that they can stay competitive, learn new skills, and find jobs in up-and-coming fields such as finance and technology.

For the online presentation, Microsoft was joined by workers who had already used the tools and vouched for them, as well as talk show host Trevor Noah, who praised the company’s efforts.

Also as part of the program, Microsoft will also be offering low-cost certification. Anyone who has lost their job as a result of pandemic-induced layoffs can access any course for only $15, which is a considerable discount considering that most courses in this category cost over $100.

But how will Microsoft know which jobs have the highest potential? Well, to do that, they’ll use data from LinkedIn to find out which jobs are in demand. Then, they will report that information to the Government so that they can draft recovery plans accordingly.

Microsoft’s initiative isn’t the first of this kind. Last year, Amazon also announced a $700 million program to teach skills like data science and business analysis to its employees. But this time, Microsoft won’t be focusing on its own employees, and anyone can join. Although the initiative is meant to help the workforce, Microsoft will undoubtedly reap some benefits from it too in the long run. Even before the pandemic, the number of available skilled tech workers couldn’t keep up with the demand, and now, considering that obtaining a work visa in the US could become more difficult, the shortage is expected to become even more acute. So, if in the short term initiatives like this help employees escape the unemployment cycle, in the long run, they also solve Silicon Valley’s continuous need for tech talent.

To access these tools, go to opportunity.linkedin.com, where you can also apply for jobs and explore the best practices when preparing for interviews.