Microsoft has announced a new AI Skills Initiative to help people and communities around the world learn to harness the power of AI.
The new initiative, part of Microsoft’s Skills for Jobs program, includes new, free coursework developed with LinkedIn; a new grant challenge with data.org for organizations to create new ways of training, upskilling and reskilling workers in generative AI.
According to Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index, AI is uniquely poised to create a whole new way of working just as the pace of information work is outpacing our ability to keep up.
According to the India findings of the Index, a whopping 76% of Indian workers said they struggle with having enough time and energy to get their work done.
And while 74% of people say they’re worried AI will replace their jobs, even more—83%—would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads.
To that end, Microsoft’s AI Skills Initiative will aim to help workers stay ahead of emerging skills gaps and alleviate digital debt – the crush of data, information, and always-on communications – and unleash creativity.
Gunjan Patel, director and head – Philanthropies, Microsoft India said, “AI skills represent the third-highest priority for companies’ training strategies, alongside analytical and creative thinking.
“AI has tremendous potential to empower workers, however, we need to ensure that everyone has the skills to use it.
“The new AI Skills Initiative marks a new beginning that will build on a new wave of technology innovation to come.”
Microsoft, data.org, Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab, and GitHub are launching an open grant program to explore, develop, and implement how nonprofit, social enterprise, and research or academic institutions can train and empower the workforce to use generative AI.
This global grant will support organizations driving skilling and economic growth especially those focusing on fair and community-led implementations of generative AI with historically marginalized populations around the world.
In addition to financial support, the awardees will receive access to a cohort experience, Microsoft events, Azure-based cloud computing resources as well as data training and technical guidance from Microsoft and GitHub experts.
To learn more about the new open grant challenge, visit data.org/challenge.
Microsoft and LinkedIn have launched a new learning pathway to provide free introductory generative AI learning content.
Through this new coursework, workers will learn introductory concepts of AI, including a look at responsible AI frameworks, and receive a Career Essentials certificate upon completion – the first professional certificate on Generative AI on the online learning market.
A recent Nasscom report found that India has the second largest AI talent pool globally and ranked first in terms of both AI skill penetration and AI talent concentration.
However, considering the current talent base of approximately 420,000 professionals, India still has a 51% gap between the demand and supply of AI/ML big data analytics tech talent in India.
Microsoft has been driving AI skilling and workforce readiness initiatives and in the last two years, nearly 70,000 women students from Tier II and III towns have been trained on AI skills.
As part of the Skills for Jobs program, this new initiative continues Microsoft’s work of bringing digital skills to people around the world, joining Microsoft’s other Skills for Jobs efforts to close the cybersecurity skills gap and the sustainability skills gap.
The AI Skills Initiative is the next step in that campaign and is the first in a series of commitments Microsoft is making to help everyone everywhere achieve more with generative AI.