Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 August 2020

Coronavirus: Microsoft commits $20m to support non-profit organisations

The company also pledges to enhance the digital skills of 25 million people by the end of 2020

Microsoft has launched a learning initiative with job search site LinkedIn and software company GitHub. Bloomberg
Microsoft has launched a learning initiative with job search site LinkedIn and software company GitHub. Bloomberg

Microsoft is setting up a $20 million (Dh73.4m) fund to assist non-profit organisations helping people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and groups that are underrepresented in the world of technology.

“Microsoft is backing the effort with grants to help non-profit organisations worldwide assist the people who need it most,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, said.

“One-quarter of this total, or $5m, will be provided in cash grants to community-based non-profit organisations that are led by and serve communities of colour in the US.”

The company, in partnership with LinkedIn and software company GitHub, also intends to equip 25 million people globally with digital skills by the end of this year.

This initiative will use data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them.

“It [the initiative] provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab … and couples these with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job seeking tools,” Mr Smith said.

Microsoft's initiative comes amid record unemployment figures in the US and Europe that have reported a large number of Covid-19 infections.

“The pandemic respects no border. Within only a few months, Covid-19 has provoked a massive demand shock, setting off job losses that far exceed the scale of the Great Recession a decade ago,” Mr Smith said. The economic recovery, he said, would require development of new skills.

To help employers enhance the skills of new and existing employees, Microsoft said it was developing a new learning app in Microsoft Teams – a unified platform that combines workplace chats, communications and video meetings.

The new app will bring together content from LinkedIn, Microsoft and third-party training providers and make it all available in a place where employees can easily learn, it said.

Updated: July 1, 2020 03:27 PM

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