Working toward the eradication of what is termed as the 'technical skills gap', in recent weeks, Microsoft has announced a couple of different plans in this regard. To start off, the tech giant launched a free, non-technical online course for students interested in comprehending business-specific problems through the use of AI. Then, earlier this month, the company teamed up with Open Classrooms to launch an AI-learning program for students.
Today, Microsoft has revealed new partnerships with five U.K. and U.S.-based colleges and universities, including the Bellevue College and the University of London, among others. The Redmond giant will be offering a number of technical skills programs, with particular focus, again, on the need to address the growing skills and talent gap.
Karen Kocher, General Manager of 21st Century Jobs, Skills and Employability at Microsoft, noted the importance of these collaborations in the following manner:
"The incredible transformation we’re witnessing in the 21st century workplace calls out the need for organizations — governments, higher education institutions, employers, the nonprofit sector — to step up and tackle one of the fundamental challenges of our time: closing the skills gap by teaching, training and preparing workers for the jobs of tomorrow. This is a crucial part of our mission at Microsoft, and we are proud to join forces with these seminal, global learning institutions to help make good on that purpose."
Further details on the manner in which the first five institutions are collaborating with Microsoft are as follows:
- Bellevue College is offering a blended and flex-learning model in AI, big data, data science and cybersecurity based on Microsoft courses.
- Purdue University Global will grant credits toward a full degree when students complete Microsoft technical skills programs in areas like AI, cybersecurity, data science and more.
- London School of Economics and Political Science is embedding data science skills and knowledge into first-year students’ curriculum.
- Staffordshire University is delivering Microsoft courses across their student population, integrating modules as part of their “Staffordshire Award” employability program.
- University of London is integrating the Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science into its new MSc Data Science degree course.
These higher educational institutions will essentially be integrating the technical programs into their curricula, including courses on AI, Data Science, Cyber Security, and Computer Science. Not only will cost-effective educational choices be provided to students, but their skill set will be polished with the specific aim of helping them become well-trained professionals in technical fields that the job market increasingly requires in this day and age.
Microsoft has also remarked that further collaborations with higher education institutions can be expected in the near future.