Back in June, LinkedIn announced their "Global Skills Initiative", to a bunch of fan fair. The goal was - and remains - laudable: "Helping 25 Million Job Seekers Get Back to Work". Which sounds amazing. And optimistic.
The program was a joint-venture between Microsoft and two of its entities (LinkedIn and GitHub). When they went live, it caught our interest here at RNN. Multiple alerts were set up, our reporters and analysts kept their eyes out for updates. But... it was a bit of a black hole. Based on this statement, we'd expected more noise:
Our goal is to help those who have become unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis get the skills they need to land their next job. By giving free access to the skills and training that job seekers need to get jobs, we hope to do our part and help connect job seekers around the globe to new opportunities. And to help the groups hit hardest by job loss, Microsoft is backing the effort with $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organizations worldwide. We at LinkedIn are proactively reaching out to hundreds of nonprofit and community partners and thousands of nonprofit customers to make sure that they know about these available resources.
It's been about 4 months since launch. Not a lot of fanfare since then. So RNN reached out to LinkedIn, to get a sense of what had happened so far - learnings, failures, big "wow success" stories. Because this is important - this matters. If these giants can get it together, it could have a hugely positive impact on our economy, and society. What follows is our Q&A:
This is an impressive, and aggressive, initiative. Could you talk a bit about where the idea originated? Was it driven from LinkedIn, MSFT, Github?
Microsoft and LinkedIn has been a longtime champion for digital skills education through our philanthropy. However, when the global COVID-19 pandemic broke out and created a global economic crisis, we knew we had to do something bigger help jobseekers get back on their feet during these challenging economic times. Even before the pandemic struck, there was already a shift to digital technologies and increasing demand for people with digital skills; the pandemic has only accelerated these trends.
Thus planning began for a skills initiative earlier in the year before COVID-19, but when the pandemic hit the global in the spring, we decided to broaden it by reaching across every part of our company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft to help people develop critical skills for open jobs.
Who owns the operational piece? Is there a key leader driving it?
Again, it’s a cross company effort with different leaders driving different aspects. CEO Ryan Roslanksy and the LinkedIn team oversee LinkedIn and LinkedIn Learning, and also provide key data that are helping to inform everyone from job seekers to policymakers on who is hiring and what skills are in demand, among many other resources. Naria Santa Lucia, Senior Director of Skills and Employability at Microsoft Philanthropies provides direction for the effort across the company, in coordination with teams across Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Github.
What was the development process like?
It was highly collaborative. Experts from across LinkedIn, Microsoft, and GitHub, including product teams, public affairs, government relations, and the economics team at LinkedIn Economic Graph came together to help create a truly global initiative that is working to put our technology, know-how, and voice behind helping those whose jobs have been affected by this crisis.
You went live in June, so it's been a few months out in the real world. They say "no plan services contact with the enemy" - what lessons have you learned so far, and how have you adapted?
We will have more to share on our learnings and progress very soon. Keep an eye out for an update from the company in the near future.
How has the overall response been?
We’re planning to announce a progress update soon.
Are you working with any organizations in the recruiting space (ATAP, RecruitDC, etc)?
Timing is everything. LinkedIn released a blog post today (9/30/20) with an update on progress.
People from 231 countries and territories, and all 50 states have tapped into our program at opportunity.linkedin.com since we launched in June. We’re seeing huge numbers of people from the U.S., India, UK, France and Canada learning every day, with some of the most popular courses being for roles in software development, customer service and data analysts. And to further extend the reach of our offering and help groups hardest hit by job loss, we’re continuing to expand our work with nonprofits and local organizations around the globe, including Black- and African American-led nonprofits, Goodwill, Afrika Tikkun in Africa, ReDI in Germany, ITPH Academy in the Netherlands, the Department for Education in the UK, and Singapore Government agencies.
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