An effort by Microsoft and Linkedin to get people back to work has now reached more than 10 million job seekers in 231 countries and territories. Their goal? To give free digital skills to 25 million people.
Representatives from Microsoft and Linkedin admit it was, and still is, an ambitious initiative to reach that many people and to target the digital space and help get people the skills they need to work in our new and changed world.
“It has really been a challenging time for so many people and there are things people can do to upscale we all really need to learn new skills everyday” says Naria Santa Lucia, general manager of digital inclusion at Microsoft Philanthropies.
Part of her job is to help people get a job. She says the program has reached people all over the world, and all over the nation.
“We’ve seen a great uptick from states like California, Texas, NY, Florida, Illinois, Virginia, Washington DC- but every single state has had a learner,” Santa Lucia said.
Santa Lucia highlights people who quit their job hoping for more opportunity, right before the shutdown.
The learning path on LinkedIn offers interview help, critical skills, and collaboration tools.
Santa Lucia recalled someone who left their job before the pandemic who was able to find work.
“He decided it was time to try something new,” Santa Lucia said. “He came upon the content and was able to supplement the technical background with the customer service skills to enhance his resume and become more attractive to employers and has landed a temporary position and is really looking forward to parlaying that into full time employment after the role concludes."
Guy Berger is the principal economist at LinkedIn.
“I’m pretty optimistic we’ll find our way out of this pandemic and even if we don’t, we’ll find ways of working around it more and more jobs will be online friendly or social distancing friendly,” Berger said.
Berger and his team just finished the workforce report for October. They tracked labor trends, who's been hired, where people are working, and where they're moving, Berger said.
“These reports in the late spring were pretty glum, hiring in the United States was down something like 40% compared to where it was a year ago. That’s huge,” Berger said. “We’ve never seen that big of a drop in our data in the last few years. But the good news: if you look at these reports… they’re improved we’re in a much better place.”
The report shows that places like Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, are gaining the most people. While the restaurant industry and travel and tourism are still down, there's been growth in areas like wellness and fitness.
Santa Lucia says, the initiative identified the top 10 in demand jobs, like software development, sales representative, customer service specialist and project management.
“Life gets in the way,” Santa Lucia said. “All of us, we’re trying to juggle helping our kids running schools in the other room, we’re thinking about other struggles and worried about the pandemic and exposures in the health arena as well. One of the great things is you can start it and put it down as you need to which is what I had to do as life got a little busy and you can go back to it as well”
She says another popular course is on diversity inclusion.
"There’s also really thinking about race equity, how can we reach individuals who are Black and African American, and, in this moment, provide the opportunity for them to become reskilled and upskilled as well" says Santa Lucia, who also recommends making a plan for yourself, keeping record, taking advantage of conferences which are now virtual and often free.
Once you get your completion certificate, it's one more thing you can add to your profile to help you stand out amongst the crowds who are looking for work.