Microsoft’s New Generative AI Skills Initiative: Empowering Workers

Microsoft has recently announced a groundbreaking AI Skills Initiative aimed at equipping individuals and communities worldwide with the necessary skills to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI). As part of Microsoft's Skills for Jobs program, this initiative includes free coursework developed in collaboration with LinkedIn as well as a grant challenge in partnership with

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The goal is to enable organizations to create innovative training programs and upskill workers in the field of generative AI. According to Microsoft's Work Trend Index, AI presents a transformative opportunity for a new way of working, particularly as the demands of information work continue to outpace our ability to keep up.

In India, the index reveals that an astounding 76% of workers struggle with time and energy constraints, hindering their productivity. While 74% express concerns about AI replacing their jobs, a remarkable 83% are open to delegating tasks to AI in order to alleviate their workloads. Microsoft's AI Skills Initiative aims to bridge emerging skills gaps, alleviate digital debt, and unlock creativity by empowering workers with AI capabilities.

Gunjan Patel, the director and head of Philanthropies at Microsoft India, emphasized the significance of AI skills as a priority for companies' training strategies. Patel stated, "AI has tremendous potential to empower workers; however, we need to ensure that everyone has the skills to use it. The new AI Skills Initiative marks a new beginning that will build on a new wave of technology innovation to come."

To drive the adoption of generative AI and facilitate economic growth, Microsoft,, Microsoft's AI for Good Lab, and GitHub are launching an open grant program. This program aims to support nonprofit organizations, social enterprises, and academic institutions in training and empowering their workforces to utilize generative AI effectively.

The grants will fund fair and community-led implementations of generative AI, with a particular focus on historically marginalized populations worldwide. Awardees will receive financial support, access to a cohort experience, Microsoft events, Azure-based cloud computing resources, and technical guidance from Microsoft and GitHub experts. Interested parties can learn more about the grant challenge at

In collaboration with LinkedIn, Microsoft has also introduced a new learning pathway that offers free introductory coursework on generative AI. This content will enable workers to grasp fundamental AI concepts, including responsible AI frameworks. Upon completion of the coursework, learners will receive a Career Essentials certificate—the first professional certificate on Generative AI available in the online learning market.

India, known for its robust AI talent pool, ranks second globally in terms of AI expertise and tops the charts in AI skill penetration and talent concentration, according to a Nasscom report. However, despite a talent base of around 420,000 professionals, there remains a 51% gap between the demand and supply of AI/ML and big data analytics tech talent in India.

Microsoft has been at the forefront of driving AI skilling and workforce readiness initiatives, having trained nearly 70,000 women students in AI skills from Tier II and III towns in the past two years. As part of the broader Skills for Jobs program, Microsoft's AI Skills Initiative builds upon the company's commitment to providing digital skills to individuals worldwide.

This initiative follows Microsoft's efforts to address the cybersecurity skills gap and the sustainability skills gap. By empowering workers with generative AI skills, Microsoft is taking a significant step toward enabling individuals everywhere to achieve more in the era of AI.