On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. announced new partnerships with global higher education institutions to align and integrate Microsoft’s technical skills programs and credentials to help address the growing 21st century talent gap. The skills programs will help students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow with in-demand technologies in fields like artificial intelligence, computer science, cybersecurity and data science.
Across the globe, there’s a growing skills gap that threatens to inhibit economic growth for workers, businesses and governments. According to ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey, approximately 45% of employers report that skill shortages have a negative impact on their businesses. Microsoft is helping to prepare students and the world’s workforce to effectively move from the classroom to a 21st century career. The use of Microsoft courses by colleges and universities will provide cost-effective educational choices for students, helping them acquire the skills needed to fill the looming skills gap emerging across the global economy.
“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,” said Karen Kocher, general manager, 21st Century Jobs, Skills and Employability, Microsoft. “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.”
Among the first higher education institutions to collaborate with Microsoft are:
- Bellevue College is offering a blended and flex-learning model in AI, big data, data science and cybersecurity based on Microsoft courses.
- Purdue Global University 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.
Microsoft’s technical skilling programs prepare workers for in-demand job roles at the forefront of technology, such as data science, AI engineering and Internet of Things (IoT) administration. By creating blended learning programs that include Microsoft technical skills programs, higher education institutions help students and workers earn an industry credential and college credits at the same time, supporting students’ acquisition of skills to help them access new opportunities with the latest technology in today’s rapidly changing workforce.
“Our mission at the University of London is to develop internationally aware, innovative and employable graduates,” said Professor Mary Stiasny OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of London. “When our students work toward and achieve these ends at university before they enter the workplace, we realize our mission and our graduates can thrive. For this reason, we are particularly excited about our collaboration with Microsoft and its potential to help our students meet and exceed the changing needs of the 21st century workplace.”
In addition, in support of assisting students and workers in obtaining the skills and credentials they need for employability, Microsoft has worked with the National College Credit Recommendation Service to determine college credit equivalencies for its technical skills programs, including new Microsoft Azure role-based certifications. Courses offered by Microsoft, including data science, AI, IoT, cybersecurity and computer science, among others, are now eligible to earn college credit at participating universities.
“We’re delighted that Microsoft, a global technology leader, has chosen Purdue Global as one of its initial partners to help address the growing challenges of attracting, developing and retaining highly trained workers, while creating a personalized, high-quality educational experience for students,” said Dr. Betty Vandenbosch, chancellor of Purdue University Global.
Additional collaborations with universities, colleges and other degree-granting institutions are in development and will be announced in the near future.
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