Microsoft will train some 15,000 people by 2022 in order to increase the pool of AI talent around the world.

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Microsoft is investing in certification and training for a range of AI-related skills in partnership with education provider General Assembly, the companies announced this morning. The goal is to train some 15,000 people by 2022 in order to increase the pool of AI talent around the world. The training will focus on AI, machine learning, data science, cloud and data engineering and more.

In the new program’s first year, Microsoft will focus on training 2,000 workers to transition to an AI and machine learning role. And over the full three years, it will train an additional 13,000 workers with AI-related skills.

As part of this effort, Microsoft is joining General Assembly’s new AI Standards Board, along with other companies. Over the next six months, the Board will help to define AI skills standards, develop assessments, design a career framework and create credentials for AI skills.

The training developed will also focus on filling the AI jobs currently available where Microsoft technologies are involved. As Microsoft notes, many workers today are not skilled enough for roles involving the use of Azure in aerospace, manufacturing and elsewhere. The training, it says, will focus on serving the needs of its customers who are looking to employ AI talent.

This will also include the creation of an AI Talent Network that will source candidates for long-term employment as well as contract work. General Assembly will assist with this effort by connecting its 22 campuses and the broader Adecco ecosystem to this jobs pipeline. (GA sold to staffing firm Adecco last year for $413 million.)

Microsoft cited the potential for AI’s impact on job creation as a reason behind the program, noting that up to 133 million new roles may be created by 2022 as a result of the new technologies. Of course, it’s also very much about making sure its own software and cloud customers can find people who are capable of working with its products, like Azure.

“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, in a statement. “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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