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Microsoft alliance update: Bolstering skills for in-demand jobs in the digital age

As part of broader effort to bridge the digital divide, Microsoft is offering resources to help drive an inclusive economic recovery and help 25 million job seekers gain skills for in-demand roles

In July, Land O’Lakes and Microsoft formed a strategic alliance focused on leading innovations in agriculture, strengthening connections between farmers and consumers and supporting rural communities. Tens of millions of Americans have experienced job displacement since the pandemic and rural communities are no different. As a farmer-owned co-op, these communities are at our very core.
We anticipate a future that requires more digital skills, requiring job seekers to gain digital fluency. In the post-COVID world, all people -- especially those in the most vulnerable, underserved and historically disconnected communities -- will need to learn new skills to rejoin the workforce prepared for technical or tech-enabled roles.
Microsoft, LinkedIn and web-based host for software development GitHub are focusing their offerings on exactly that, helping people hit by COVID-19 gain the training and skills for in-demand roles in an increasingly digital economy. The effort aims to help 25 million people worldwide this year who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 reskill for in-demand roles.
Here are the resources the group is offering:

Free access to educational content for building digital skills, ranging from entry-level digital literacy to advanced skills for technical roles:

  • LinkedIn Learning is sharing a free library of high-quality learning paths from LinkedIn and Microsoft Learn to help build skills for in-demand roles like digital marketing, product management, data analysis and software development — starting now, through March 31, 2021.

  • Microsoft Learn will continue its free access to interactive, self-paced content to help learners advance their technical skills and prepare for role-based certifications in Microsoft products.

  • GitHub Learning Lab will continue providing free hands-on learning experiences, which enable learners to develop technical skills by practicing on fun and realistic projects.

Certifications to demonstrate mastery in skills that employers seek:

  • Offering learners opportunities to earn industry-recognized certifications in Microsoft products at a reduced costs.

  • Many of the certifications are specific to in-demand roles, such as software developers, data analysts and IT administrators.

  • A certification exam that would normally cost more than $100 will be offered for $15 to people economically impacted due to COVID-19 who have completed the necessary steps.

Opportunities to get in front of employers:

  • Microsoft and LinkedIn are combining resources to help jobseekers prepare for a successful job search with access to LinkedIn job search tools and free courses.

  • Microsoft is also using Microsoft Artificial Intelligence to power virtual interviews, whereby jobseekers can practice virtual interviews and receive feedback.

All of these efforts are aimed at reskilling and reenergizing the American workforce. Still, they can only reach their full potential through expanding access to broadband for all Americans. Go here to learn more about our efforts to achieve exactly that
From where we sit, closing the digital divide and increasing access to broadband is critical for accessing distance learning and job reskilling programs as well as critical and long-term efforts of boosting on-farm sustainability, improving health outcomes in all communities, and building a better understanding of where or food and fuel come from.

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