Satya Nadella-led technology giant Microsoft aims to equip 20 lakh Indians with AI skills by 2025.
The company's ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA, which is part of its Skills for Jobs program, aims to accelerate AI transformation in India and equip the workforce with future-ready skills.
“The ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA initiative is a significant step towards democratizing access to AI skills across the nation and reflects Microsoft’s deep commitment to enabling inclusive growth with technology,” said Puneet Chandok, president of Microsoft India & South Asia.
Targeting Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities
According to Microsoft's recent Work Trend Index, 90% of Indian leaders say the people they hire will need new skills to prepare them for the growth of AI. Furthermore, 78% of Indian workers say they don't have the right AI capabilities to complete their current work.
To address this needs gap, ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA will focus on training individuals in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, as well as rural areas, enabling people to participate in the new era of AI and unlock inclusive socio-economic progress, as per the company's statement.
Partnering with government, nonprofits, companies
The initiative will be delivered in partnership with India's Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, state governments, nonprofit organizations, and the corporate sector.
Microsoft aims to provide both basic and advanced AI training to 500,000 students and job seekers through 100 rural vocational education institutions and training centers. Additionally, 100,000 young women will receive in-depth AI technical skills training, it said.
“In the years ahead, AI innovation will play a pivotal role in shaping our future, and we at the Directorate General of Training, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, stay dedicated to realizing the potential of the AI era for India, in partnership with Microsoft and others,” said Trishaljit Sethi, Director General (Training), Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
“This commitment involves equipping the youth with skills through training in tools that redefine how people work, connect, address real-world challenges, and live. Our institutions like ITIs, NSTIs, and our skilling platform are driving the skilling mission for the youth," Sethi said.
Upskilling government officials in AI
Microsoft said the initiative will focus on equipping India's future workforce, upskilling government officials in AI, and building the AI capability of nonprofit organizations. The company will focus on raising awareness of responsible AI use among 400,000 students in schools across remote and tribal regions.
Microsoft's partnership with the National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building aims to equip 250,000 government officers with generative AI knowledge. Moreover, the India Nonprofit Leaders Summit in April 2024 will engage 2,500 nonprofits to train 750,000 learners in AI fluency, it added.
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