Digital skilling has taken center stage in 2020 – and as the importance of well-rounded, at-home learning has grown, this will continue to shape culture and education in the year ahead. The World Economic Forum predicts 77 percent of jobs in the next decade will be in technology, with creativity among the top skills sought by employers. As a company, we are committed to bringing these new skills to the workforce through our Global Skilling Initiative, announced earlier this year with the goal of helping 25 million people worldwide acquire these new digital skills.

To help bridge the digital skills gap and inspire the next generation of developers, Microsoft and Warner Bros. are partnering together to create new education opportunities themed around the upcoming animated/live-action movie, “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” In this film, basketball champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny. When James and his young son Dom – who dreams of being a video game developer – are trapped in a digital space by a rogue AI, James must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the AI’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before.

Ahead of the film’s highly anticipated release in 2021, we are inviting fans to help us create an arcade-style Xbox video game inspired by the movie. We’re also launching two new learning paths and hosting themed virtual workshops to help learners of all ages  explore science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) careers and discover the wonders of computer science.

When it comes to empowering the next generation of developers, inspiration is equally as important as access to education. As part of this new partnership, basketball champion and global icon LeBron James has joined the team to encourage budding developers to participate in our all-star contest and get kids, especially underserved youth, excited about developing these sought-after skills.

Participate in the Xbox ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ arcade-style video game contest

On our quest for a truly fan-inspired gaming experience, we’ll bring two lucky winners’ ideas into reality as the official “Space Jam: A New Legacy” arcade-style video game, available as the newest Perk for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in 2021. Since Xbox Game Pass was built on fan feedback, it’s only fitting that fan-inspired ideas will create this once-in-a-generation experience. Now through Dec. 30, fans aged 14 and older can submit game ideas at the official contest website. Winners will also receive a virtual Microsoft coding workshop for their local community; their names featured in the game credits, an exclusive winner’s bundle with signed and authenticated LeBron James memorabilia; “Space Jam: A New Legacy” merchandise and Nike VIP packs; a personalized Xbox Series S console; and a private friends and family screening of the film.

Learn to code with a new series of Microsoft Store workshops featuring ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’

To help coders of all ages jump-start their creativity, Microsoft Stores are hosting free “Space Jam: A New Legacy”-themed virtual workshops on video game creation. Sign-up is available now. The Stores’ online workshops are aimed at children as young as 8. Via a 90-minute Microsoft Teams Live lesson, students will make a playable prototype of a video game using our simple-to-navigate experience on our MakeCode Arcade platform, while learning about the professional skills and STEAM careers that are involved in game design including coding concepts, programming tools and the importance of building skills around problem solving, creativity and perseverance.

The cast of “Space Jam: A New Legacy” realizes how critical it is for aspiring coders and technologists to be inspired by the promise of technology. That’s why LeBron James created short video to help us introduce the power of data science and coding.

We’ve also created an educator version of these trainings that makes it easier for teachers to incorporate STEAM lessons in their curricula in the hope of amplifying opportunities for learning. Find out more about this on our Microsoft in Education blog.

Develop the job skills of tomorrow on Microsoft Learn inspired by the Tune Squad

We also built two new lessons for Microsoft Learn, themed to “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” Microsoft Learn is a free online technical training platform to teach data science and coding using popular, easy-to-get-started tools like Visual Studio Code, GitHub and Azure. Through the Microsoft Learn catalog of more than 1,000 videos, labs, articles and curated content, learners can explore their passions and pursue certification opportunities for popular job roles in data science and cloud development.

Start learning here:

For more details on why we created the “Space Jam: A New Legacy” learning path, try our Microsoft Learn blog.

Inspiring upskilling professionals and the next-generation of learners alike

We’re inspired by “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and LeBron James’s commitment to I Promise School. With compelling new learning opportunities, we believe we can also inspire others to discover data science and coding much in the way many of us were inspired through gaming. This new contest, along with the workshops and lessons we’ve created, presents an unmissable opportunity: Future innovators and technologists gain critical job skills for the future – all while solving real-world scenarios they love (like in basketball).