Microsoft Philanthropies, Markle Foundation announce partnership to connect workers with new opportunities in digital economy

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A significant partnership between The Markle Foundation and Microsoft Philanthropies to help provide workers with new skills and digital competencies was announced Tuesday by Microsoft President Brad Smith and Markle President and CEO Zoë Baird.

Microsoft is investing more than $25 million over three years to expand Markle’s successful Skillful initiative, first across Colorado and then to other states.

“This is one of the single biggest philanthropic investments Microsoft Philanthropies has made, reflecting the importance of the work involved,” Smith and Baird write in a post on LinkedIn.

The American workforce is “undergoing an upheaval unlike anything we’ve seen since coal and steam propelled machines to the forefront of industry in the 19th century,” they write. “Technological advancements, like cloud computing, computer automation and artificial intelligence, are demanding new skills and making long-familiar occupations almost unrecognizable.”

In the U.S., millions of Americans, whose skills were valuable just a few years ago, find themselves underemployed – or worse, out of work altogether, Smith and Baird write. “On the flip side, employers who are digitally transforming their own operations are unable to find enough skilled workers to effectively run their businesses.”

Markle’s Skillful initiative aims to use the very forces driving change – technology and data – to build an ecosystem of workers, employers, state and federal government, educators and workforce centers to help Americans adapt to the changing workplace.

Skillful’s coaches and online services will help job seekers learn what skills are in demand and where to find training at any stage of their career. LinkedIn tools will help individuals meet these needs, and Skillful will align employers and educators so training programs teach the skills required to succeed in today’s digital economy.

To learn more, see the full post on LinkedIn.


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