Engaging and Inspiring all Students to Develop the Skills Required for the Modern Workforce

This post is written by Microsoft, a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2019 Advance CTE Spring Meeting.

Providing the technical and soft skills students need to thrive in a digital economy can seem like an overwhelming task, and the rapid pace of change in the workforce is creating a global skills gap. As one example, the demand for next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) skills has far outpaced the number of candidates in the job market. A recent estimate suggests that, by 2022, a talent shortage will leave as many as 30% of AI and data skills jobs open.

We know that as emerging technologies and tools from Artificial Intelligence to Machine Learning to Cloud Computing transform the modern workplace, skills requirements for students are changing rapidly as well.  And we also see first-hand that education leaders and policymakers around the world are striving to address this imperative – seeking innovative ways to address the skills gap and boost the talent pipeline for economic competitiveness.

At Microsoft, we refer to “Future-Ready Skills” when educators talk about digital literacy, technical job skills, industry certifications, STEM, computer science, data science, and the 21st-century employability skills that focus on collaborating, communicating, designing, and creating. Aligning with education and with key partners in the US and around the world, we are committed to partnering and providing Education solutions in three key focus areas related to Future-Ready Skills & Employability:

  • Driving Computing, Computer Science & Technology Forward through Policy, Diversity and Inclusion to Close the Skills Gap
  • Supporting Great Educators to do what they do best in teaching, supporting and mentoring students
  • Lighting up the Modern Classroom with dynamic skills programs and technologies to drive computer science, data science, industry recognized certifications, STEM and employability

Microsoft is committed to making this space of technical and employability skills education in schools — and through CTE — a priority across the US and in markets around the globe. The flagship Microsoft  Imagine Academy skills program is designed as a partnership opportunity with K-12 high schools as well as middle schools to help deliver meaningful, relevant and valuable skills-based learning programs with outcomes of Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Employability.  The program features four in-demand learning and career pathways of study: Computer Science, Data Science, IT Infrastructure/Cloud, and Productivity. Plus, students and educators can pursue globally recognized Microsoft certifications through our partnership with leading exam delivery provider Certiport.

Throughout our company history, partnership has been a hallmark. We value and appreciate strategic alliances such as those forged with Advance CTE and its member institutions and CTE leaders across the country. Our mutual policy focus in support of Perkins reauthorization this past year represents a shining example of our alliance and joint commitment to CTE. We are also committed to work with your member state school system leaders, districts, and schools to promote the value of technology and computer science education for student achievement in every school.

From a Microsoft perspective, it’s our pleasure to continue to strongly support the mission of CTE, and we appreciated the opportunity to serve as a sponsor for another fantastic Spring Meeting 2019 for Advance CTE this past week in Washington, DC. As Allyson Knox, Senior Director of Education Policy and Programs, Microsoft, said in her remarks at the conference, “Our missions are aligned in many ways, and most importantly, in our collective effort every day to empower every student to achieve more in a digitally transforming world.” If you’d like to learn more about the array of Microsoft skills and education programs available for schools to boost student and educator opportunities check out the digital skills resource page here or please reach out to Roberta Reischl, part of Microsoft Education, Future-Ready Skills Team.

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