- Microsoft launched a new AI training initiative aimed at expanding access to AI skills through free coursework, the company announced Wednesday. Developed in partnership with Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, the coursework will be offered through LinkedIn's training platform.
- Initially launching only in English, the coursework will cover introductory concepts of AI and responsible AI frameworks. Following completion of the course, participants will receive a Career Essentials certificate.
- For those interested in teaching courses, a trainer toolkit, including an AI course built for educators, will be available at a later date. The guide is aimed at educators in schools as well as trainers within organizations, a spokesperson told CIO Dive.
Interest in generative AI deployment continues, but organizations still lack the AI skills needed for timely implementation. Vendors, such as Microsoft, are hoping free access to training will facilitate enterprise adoption.
More than 2 in 5 IT leaders are concerned about the capacity of their team to accommodate the growing use of AI, according to a June Equinix survey of 2,900 IT decision makers.
Microsoft isn’t alone in trying to fill the gaps needed to efficiently use and customize the slew of AI products filling the market. Google also released a set of generative AI training courses available at no cost in May. Its course covers introductory concepts, image generation, image captioning models, encoder-decoder architecture and transformer and BERT models.
Microsoft's AI skills initiative also includes a global grant program to gather addtional ways to train workers on generative AI.
The grant is expected to support organizations focusing on fair and community-led implementations of generative AI with historically marginalized groups, Microsoft said in the announcement. Nonprofits, social enterprises and academic or research institutions are encouraged to apply for the program. Winners will be selected in the fall.
The program is sponsored by Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab, Microsoft-owned GitHub and data.org. The chosen cohort will receive financial support as well as access to Azure-based cloud computing resources, data training and technical guidance from Microsoft and GitHub experts.