Microsoft invests in Skillful initiative to support the US labour market

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 28 June 2017
Microsoft invests in Skillful initiative to support the US labour market

Microsoft has entered into a three-year partnership with the Markle Foundation to help expand the latter’s Skillful initiative.

This initiative sees the foundation adopt a data-driven approached to connect workers and business across the US, in what is a quickly evolving labour market.

Many jobs in expanding sectors today require post-secondary degrees, certificates or credentialing programmes. This is resulting in the possibility of people losing their jobs due to their lack of a four-year college degree.

To support those at risk, Microsoft Philanthropies is making a significant investment in Skillful, which brings together key players in the labour market. This includes employers, state and federal governments, LinkedIn, educators, and workforce centres.

The initiative supports workers and helps them adapt to today’s changing workplace, learn skills which are currently in demand, and access professional training.

As well as financial investment in the programme, Microsoft will also be able to help support the development of digital skills among workers, and provide learning tools for educators and employers.

“There are 7.3 million fewer jobs in the United States today for people with a high school degree or less than there were in 1989,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “At the same time, 6 million jobs in our country go unfilled due in large part to a shortage of skilled workers. This mismatch is leaving workers on the sidelines and employers without the talent they need to run their operations. Skillful is building an entire ecosystem to close this gap, helping Americans find and train for better-paying jobs, while connecting employers with the talent they need to thrive in the digital economy.”

Skillful was launched in Colorado in 2016, and it is hoped that the initiative will be expanded in this state and create a model that can then be adopted in other states across the US.

“Skillful has helped jobseekers in Colorado develop the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly tech-driven workplace and helped employers connect with these talented job seekers,” said John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor. “Microsoft’s investment will bring these benefits to even more workers and companies across the state. Together, we can provide opportunity for income growth and career satisfaction for every Coloradan. I look forward to seeing Skillful serve as a model for the rest of the country.”

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