COVID-19 has impacted millions of people globally, especially with regard to their employment. Many jobs have been lost, others have been transformed, and as we look ahead, many more will be created for the first time. The unprecedented events that have been unfolding before us have accelerated the role of technology and elevated the need for employees to have digital skills to thrive in this new hybrid world. In response, yesterday, Microsoft announced a commitment to help 25 million people worldwide acquire digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy.
In addition to the impact on companies and employees, the pandemic has also created a catalyst to dramatically shift the importance of technology’s role in learning and created a transformation imperative for schools and universities worldwide. As we face a new world of work, preparing education institutions to build future leaders has never been more vital to society.
This year alone, millions of students worldwide will graduate from their formal education into their first full-time job and into a world that is rapidly changing. The announcements made yesterday provide a number of resources for students whose employment plans may be impacted by the pandemic and are looking for ways to further build their credentials and advance their skills in new areas to prepare for work of the future. We hope these impacted students find value in LinkedIn’s community and resources announced to learn skills, find jobs, and stand out to recruiters.
While the resources announced yesterday will support students as job seekers entering the workforce, Microsoft also will continue to invest in helping students in primary, secondary, and higher education gain the skills to be successful in the future. We are committed to ensuring educators are equipped with the tools and curricular resources to teach digital skills and ready students for in-demand jobs across cloud, data, artificial intelligence, coding and even quantum computing. Our hope is for more students to be excited by the power of technology to change the world and to learn digital skills that are increasingly a foundation across all jobs in the workforce.
- Microsoft Learn for Students and Educators: Microsoft recently announced a new experience on Microsoft Learn for students and educators, providing curated experiences including learning paths focused on technology for social impact, popular university courses, and foundational developer paths. Offering self-directed, self-paced tutorials across topics such as cloud computing, data science, AI, and more, this platform is a great place for students to develop their industry relevant skills. Likewise, eligible educators and faculty members at universities, community colleges, polytechnics, and secondary schools can access Microsoft ready-to-teach curriculum and teaching materials aligned to industry-recognized Microsoft Fundamentals certifications.
- Microsoft Learn Catalog API: Currently in preview, Microsoft Learn offers a Catalog API to display content from Microsoft Learn in an institutions learning management system (LMS) alongside other training content.
- Microsoft AI Business School: The Microsoft AI Business School is a great resource for students to learn about applying AI to industry, along with considerations for sales, marketing, culture, and responsible AI application across industries like manufacturing, healthcare, finance, government, retail, and education.
- Certifications: To support students in showcasing their skills and building their portfolio, we provide institutions the opportunity to procure Microsoft certification vouchers at academic pricing on their existing volume license agreement. Available in multi-exam packs, this provides a convenient, flexible, and scalable model for institutions to support students to secure a Microsoft industry-recognized certification. Certifications are a great complement to existing degree studies or can serve as a stand-alone credential to show proficiency in a specific technology.
- Exam delivery: Our academic certification partner, Certiport, recently announced the availability of Certiport Exams from Home—an opportunity for students to continue to take their exams from home and earn their industry-recognized certifications while remote learning is in place. In just the past two months, more than 80,000 exams have been delivered through this new method. As school returns, students will also be able to take their exams at their local Certiport testing center or institution.
- Real-world tools: To help students get hands on with technology, we provide student offerings like Azure for Students, GitHub Student Developer Pack, Visual Studio Code, and programs like Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors. Additionally, we provide access to tools such as Azure Lab Services to enable on-demand access to pre-configured virtual machines to teach a class, run a hackathon or a hands-on lab, and more.
- LinkedIn Learning: Through LinkedIn Learning, institutions can get access to more than 16,000 courses taught by industry experts through online training, as well as the newly unlocked free courses announced yesterday by LinkedIn to support job seekers. For further information and to connect with your local representative, click here.
- Free online workshops at Microsoft Store: Microsoft Store offers free, daily online trainings and workshops to help students get career ready, including the popular two-hour virtual “Rock Your Profile” workshop where participants learn how to build or improve their LinkedIn profile, engage with their network, and sharpen their resume.
We’re excited about our journey to support students and educators to skill up and be ready to change the world with technology, just like the students who competed recently at the Imagine Cup finals, Microsoft’s global technology competition. For more information on Microsoft’s education skills offerings, take a look at the resources available at aka.ms/eduskills. We are committed to this ongoing evolution, so please stay tuned for more exciting announcements over the coming months!