Microsoft recently launched global digital skills initiatives meant to assist 25 million people acquire new skills and get prepared for Post-Covid-19 economy.
The company is offering free access to learning paths and comprehensive resources to help people develop the skills needed for in-demand jobs.
The initiative also aims to help job seekers demonstrate their skills to potential employers. This part of our initiative has multiple parts, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, explained during the event held last week.
According to Nadella, Microsoft will offer low-cost access to industry-recognized Microsoft Certifications based on exams that demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft technologies.
In his words, “We are making exams for these Microsoft Certifications available at a significantly discounted fee of $15 available to those who self-attest that their employment has been impacted by COVID-19.
“This represents a large discount on the price of exams that typically cost more than $100. We are committed to supporting the integrity of certifications by enabling proctoring safely in an online setting that is accessible from anywhere”.
Nadella further said that the $15 fee will be paid to and will enable third parties to scale to meet the potential surge in examination resources and will support the integrity of the certification by enabling proctoring via a safe, online setting that is accessible from anywhere.
“We will also work with governments, nonprofits, foundations, and other private sector partners if they wish to absorb this third-party cost.
“Participants will have the ability to schedule an exam from September to the end of the year, and exam takers will have until March 31, 2021 to complete the exam. This will provide access to the exams that provide five fundamentals certifications and eight role-based certifications.
These will include:
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
- Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
- Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
- Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
- Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
- Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate
These exams will be available initially in whole or in part in seven languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese (simplified), and Korean.
“We have found that these certifications are a powerful asset for job seekers and those looking to advance in an existing role. For example, in Global Knowledge’s 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report, more than half of IT decision-makers surveyed believe the main benefit of certified individuals is their ability to close organizational skills gaps seen in an everchanging technology environment.
“It also showed certifications helped make hiring easier, helping job seekers stand out. Among other things, these certifications, as well as completion of a learning path on LinkedIn Learning, can be added to an individual’s LinkedIn profile.
“We are also making available tools to help individuals identify and pursue potential jobs. This includes a recently developed job interview preparation-feature, powered by MSFT-AI, to prepare and practice for job interviews.
“It also includes a new feature we are announcing today called #OpenToWork, which enables job seekers to surface to employers the roles for which they would like to be considered. Through a simple LinkedIn profile photo frame, #OpenToWork enables job seekers to let employers and the LinkedIn network know they are actively seeking a new opportunity, indicate the type of job they are looking for, express their needs for support, and get help from the LinkedIn community to find new opportunities.
“We believe the strength of these resources is their comprehensive nature. To help people find and navigate all of our offerings, we have made all of these resources accessible from a single location: opportunity.linkedin.com.
“A job seeker or anyone looking to develop these on-demand skills can start here and will be guided through the learning paths based on the roles in which they are interested.
“In addition, Microsoft and LinkedIn will continue to provide on-ramps for people from nontraditional backgrounds to successfully transition from learning skills to landing a job.
“This will include the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, or MSSA, which provides transitioning U.S. service members and veterans with technology skills. It also includes Leap, which Microsoft launched in 2015 to recruit, develop, upskill non-traditional talent, and create a connection to employability in the tech industry.
“And it includes REACH, which is a multi-year engineering apprenticeship program at LinkedIn” the Microsoft CEO said.