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Microsoft & General Assembly Partner to Address AI Skills Gap

Microsoft is partnering with education provider General Assembly in an attempt to close skills gaps in the fast-growing fields of artificial intelligence, cloud and data engineering, machine learning and data science.

The goal is to facilitate 2,000 job changes for workers interested in moving into artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning roles in the first year of the partnership and train an additional 13,000 workers in the next three years to create a pool of AI workers.

Microsoft will join General Assembly’s AI Standards Board to help create industry-recognized AI skills standards, design a career framework and build an industry-recognized credential for AI skills in the next six months. The two companies also will develop AI training solutions for customers of Microsoft, which supports businesses in aerospace, manufacturing and other industries with its Azure public cloud platform, but finds that many workers aren’t sufficiently skilled to leverage its full capabilities.

“We want to leverage Microsoft and other industry leaders in AI to align aspects of our existing curriculum that serve students seeking to break into software engineering and data science careers, where significant demand for talent to support AI adoption exists,” said Ryan Fennerty, head of business development and partnerships at New York-based General Assembly. “In addition, we will do the same through our respective enterprise client offerings by re-skilling workers for core roles that underpin AI adoption.”

Key to that will be an AI Talent Network comprised of employers seeking talent in cloud and data engineering, machine learning and data science. Microsoft and General Assembly will establish the network to source candidates for hire and project-based AI work.

The joint program will focus on three core areas: 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.

  • To create clear and consistent standards for AI skills, Microsoft will be the founding member of GA’s AI Standards Board, and will be joined by other industry-leading companies at the forefront of AI disruption. Over the next six months, the Standards Board will define skills standards, develop assessments, design a career framework, and build an industry-recognized credential for AI skills.


  • As businesses adopt AI and machine learning cross-functionally, business leaders and technologists alike must understand AI concepts and master AI tools.


  • To ensure that businesses can meet ever-growing AI talent needs, GA and Microsoft will establish an AI Talent Network to source candidates for hire and project-based work. GA will leverage its existing network of 22 campuses and the broader Adecco ecosystem to create a repeatable talent pipeline for the AI Talent Network.


“Artificial intelligence is driving the greatest disruption to our global economy since industrialization, and Microsoft is an amazing partner as we develop solutions to empower companies and workers to meet that disruption head on,” said Jake Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of GA.

“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.

“We are thrilled to combine our industry and technical expertise with General Assembly to help close the skills gap and ensure businesses can maximize their potential in our AI-driven economy.”

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