Microsoft and General Assembly aim to close the skills gap with an AI-focused workforce.
- New Microsoft partnership with General Assembly will "upskill and reskill" 15,000 workers for AI-related jobs by 2022.
- Partnership will establish the AI Standards Board to create industry-recognized credentials for AI skills and design a career framework.
- These two companies will also create the AI Talent Network to help businesses find qualified AI workers.
As artificial intelligence gains more prominence in the workplace and jobs are redefined as a result, a new partnership between two major companies that was announced earlier today could help create a set of industry-recognized credentials and educate thousands of workers.
Earlier today, Microsoft and General Assembly (GA) announced that they are working together to "close skills gaps in the growing fields of artificial intelligence, cloud and data engineering, machine learning, data science and more."
Through this partnership, officials said they plan to establish a new set of credentials for AI skills, as well as "upskill and reskill" 15,000 workers by 2022, effectively creating a new AI-related global workforce.
Training will help workers thrive in AI-disrupted economy
According to the World Economic Forum, "133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms" by 2022. General Assembly CEO and co-founder Jake Schwartz called that upcoming shift the "greatest disruption to our global economy since industrialization."
"Microsoft is an amazing partner as we develop solutions to empower companies and workers to meet that disruption head-on," said Schwartz. "At its core, GA has always been laser focused on connecting what companies need to the skills that workers obtain, and we are excited to team up with Microsoft to tackle the AI skills gap."
The new partnership will conservatively start with 2,000 job transitions in the first year. Over the following three years, the remaining 13,000 workers will be transitioned to their newer, more AI-focused roles.
"As a technology company committed to driving innovation, we have a responsibility to help workers access the AI training they need to ensure they thrive in the workplace of today and tomorrow," said Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president of Global Sales, Marketing and Operations at Microsoft.
AI Standards Board will set career certification standards for AI workforce
Once the program starts, officials said it will focus on "setting the standards for artificial intelligence skills, developing scalable AI training solutions for companies, and creating a sustainable talent pool of workers with AI skills."
Creating standards for AI skills will start out with Microsoft serving as the founding member of GA's AI Standards Board. Other companies are expected to join the board, which will define "standards, develop assessments, design a career framework, and build an industry-recognized credential for AI skills" over the following six months.
Officials at Microsoft said they also anticipate that the collaboration with GA will help businesses understand the concepts surrounding AI and its application in the workspace. Though Microsoft's cloud computing suite Azure is used in many sectors, the tech giant said most workers are not able to fully realize the software's potential. This new partnership, they said, "will focus on accelerating the workforce training needs of Microsoft's customers so that more teams have the foundational skills needed to work with AI.
To even further help businesses meet their AI needs, the two companies will establish an "AI Talent Network" to provide a pool of candidates for hire, as well as on a per-project basis. This facet of the partnership will heavily rely on GA's network of 22 campuses, and on staffing agency Adecco, to create a job pool for relevant workers.