Microsoft Canada has announced the addition of eight post-secondary institutions to the Canada Skills Program, bringing the total to 20 schools in six provinces across Canada.
Launched last fall, the program allows students to acquire in-demand cloud, data and AI skills and Microsoft certifications alongside their institutions’ credentials, enhancing their employability as they enter the job market. In the first six months, over 20,000 students have participated.
New data from the Information and Communication Technology Council of Canada (ICTC) found that 50 percent of all information technology (IT) departments of companies surveyed in North America currently identified as either short-staffed or understaffed in ICT roles and the innovation economy is expected to create an additional 149 million new jobs by 2025.
The Canada Skills Program aims to address this challenge and will support a minimum of 2,000 additional students in diploma, degree and continuing education programs across Canada by enabling them to graduate with in-demand data analytics, AI and cloud certifications.
“Microsoft continues to invest in skilling initiatives because building a talent pipeline equipped with cloud, data and AI skills is key to strengthening Canada’s innovation economy,” said Kevin Peesker, President, Microsoft Canada.
“The pandemic has made these needs more acute than ever and expanding the Canada Skills Program means even more students will start their careers with the fundamentals they need to land meaningful work and drive accelerated innovation for Canada.”
The 20 post-secondary institutions to sign on with the Microsoft Canada Skills Program are:
- British Columbia: University of British Columbia; Vancouver Community College; LaSalle College Vancouver
- Alberta: University of Calgary; Northern Alberta Institute of Technology; Red Deer College; Southern Alberta Institute of Technology; Bow Valley College
- Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
- Manitoba: Red River College
- Ontario: University of Waterloo, Seneca College, Humber College; Ontario Tech University; Algonquin College; University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies; McMaster University, DeGroote School of Business; Collège La Cité, Georgian College
- New Brunswick: New Brunswick Community College
This expansion of the Canada Skills Program is the latest in Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to enabling greater access to digital skills and providing students with the tools they need to support the Canadian economy as it emerges from the challenges caused by COVID-19.