Tech Leaders Launch AI Consortium to Upskill Workforces

IBM, Google, Intel, Microsoft, SAP and others form an AI workforce consortium to assess AI impact on tech jobs and identify skills development pathways

Hoping to address the impact of AI on the technology workforce, the Consortium seeks to provide actionable insights and identify new opportunities for reskilling and upskilling. It includes leading technology companies such as Accenture, Eightfold, Google, IBM, Indeed, Intel, Microsoft and SAP.

Focusing on upskilling and reskilling roles, the Consortium is currently working to evaluate how AI is changing the jobs and skills workers need to be successful.

Advisors to the Consortium include the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, CHAIN5, Communications Workers of America, DIGITALEUROPE, the European Vocational Training Association, Khan Academy and SMEUnited.

AI will only continue to emerge within the workplace

The first phase of work by the Consortium will consist of a report with actionable insights for business leaders and workers. Findings will then be intended to offer practical insights and recommendations to employers that are wanting to reskill and upskill their workers in preparation for AI-enabled environments.

Additionally, it will seek to address a growing business-critical need for a workforce that is highly skilled across a broad range of AI skills. The Consortium will leverage its members and advisors to recommend training programmes that are inclusive and can benefit multiple stakeholders in order to skill workers at a much larger scale.

“We recognise that economic security and national security are inextricably linked. That’s why I’m proud to see the efforts of the Talent for Growth Task Force continue with the creation of the AI-Enabled ICT Workforce Consortium,” says US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I am grateful to the Consortium members for joining in this effort to confront the new workforce needs that are arising in the wake of AI’s rapid development. This work will help provide unprecedented insight on the specific skill needs for these jobs. 

“I hope that this Consortium is just the beginning, and that the private sector sees this as a call to action to ensure our workforces can reap the benefits of AI.”

This news comes shortly after the US and UK reached a landmark agreement to partner in AI safety measures. It aims to set a precedent for businesses and world leaders alike to invest in responsible AI to drive forward safe digital innovation.

Skills: Training millions in cybersecurity and digital skills by 2032

In order to ensure AI is progressing in an equitable way, members of the Consortium seek to build a more inclusive workforce, whilst recognising the urgency and importance of accelerating AI.

By joining, members have committed to developing worker pathways across a broad range of job sectors. Their forward-thinking goals with skills development and training programmes  expect to positively impact more than 95 million individuals worldwide over the next 10 years. 

Consortium member goals include:
  • Cisco to train 25 million people with cybersecurity and digital skills by 2032
  • IBM to skill 30 million individuals by 2030 in digital skills, including 2 million in AI
  • Intel to empower more than 30 million people with AI skills for current and future jobs by 2030
  • Microsoft to train and certify 10 million people from underserved communities with in-demand digital skills for jobs and livelihood opportunities in the digital economy by 2025
  • SAP to upskill two million people worldwide by 2025
  • Google's €25 million (US$27.18m) in funding to support AI training and skills for people across Europe

Speaking on the formation of the Consortium, VP Human Resources at IBM EMEA, Gian Luigi Cattaneo, comments: “IBM is proud to join this timely business-led initiative, which brings together our shared expertise and resources to prepare the workforce for the AI era. 

“Our collective responsibility as industry leaders is to develop trustworthy technologies and help provide workers—from all backgrounds and experience levels—access to opportunities to reskill and upskill as AI adoption changes ways of working and creates new jobs.”

Likewise, Amy Pannoni, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal at Microsoft, says: “As a member of the consortium, [Microsoft] will work with industry leaders to share best practices, create accessible learning opportunities, and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that workers are equipped with the technology skills of tomorrow.”

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