Skilling for Employment Post COVID-19

Woman on couch with laptop participating in online learning

Free and discounted trainings and certifications extended to December 31, 2021!


About Skilling for Employment Post COVID-19

Libraries and communities need to act now to ensure those hit by job losses direct their energies into promising career paths and develop the skills they need to gain employment. Over the last two decades, a persistent digital divide challenged many job seekers from gaining skills, and a steady decline in employer-supported training has challenged even those in the workforce to keep up and advance their careers. COVID-19 added fuel to the fire, setting off job losses exceeding the scale of the Great Recession, with the biggest brunt borne by people with disabilities, people of color, women, younger workers, and those with less formal education. COVID-19 has also accelerated digital transformation, threatening manual jobs and portending a jobs recovery that requires an increasing focus on digital skills. 

The Public Library Association (PLA) and Microsoft Corp. are working together to help libraries identify existing and new tools for helping community members gain skills for jobs that are well positioned to grow in the future.

Free LinkedIn Learning Courses for In-Demand Jobs

LinkedIn Learning logoLinkedIn Learning has identified ten jobs that are in-demand in today’s economy and are positioned to grow in the future. They are making ten LinkedIn Learning Paths aligned with these jobs available for everyone for free in 2021. Visit to see current job opportunities and the different learning paths available. The ten role-based learning paths are: 

  1. Software developer – Become a Software Developer
  2. Sales representative – Become a Sales Representative
  3. Project manager – Become a Project Manager
  4. IT administrator – Prepare for CompTIA Network+ Certification
  5. Customer service specialist – Become a Customer Service Specialist
  6. Digital marketer – Become a Digital Marketing Specialist
  7. IT support/help desk – Prepare for the CompTIA A+ Certification   
  8. Data analyst – Become a Data Analyst
  9. Financial analyst – Become a Financial Analyst
  10. Graphic designer – Become a Graphic Designer

Free LinkedIn Learning Courses for Soft Skills

LinkedIn Learning has also made learning paths focused on helping professionals come up to speed on soft skills. 

  1. Job seeker – Finding a Job During Challenging Economic Times
  2. Critical soft skills – Master In-Demand Professional Soft Skills
  3. Digital transformation – Digital Transformation in Practice: Virtual Collaboration Tools (combination of digital fluency and remote work)  
  4. Allyship and inclusive conversations – Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging for All

Technical Learning Content, Practice, and Certifications

GitHub logoIn addition, Microsoft Learn is offering free and in-depth technical learning content that also supports these roles and job seekers pursuing developer roles can access the GitHub Learning Lab to practice their skills.

Microsoft logoIndustry-recognized Microsoft Certifications, listed below, are being offered at reduced cost. Exams that normally cost $100 or more will be offered for $15 for individuals who are unemployed or furloughed due to COVID-19. All exams are available in English, Spanish, French, German, and more. See the website for complete Terms and Conditions.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals
Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals
Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
Microsoft Certified: Power Platform App Maker Associate
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate
Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate

Libraries in Cleveland, El Paso, Memphis, and New York Promote Skilling and Access

As part of the initiative, PLA and Microsoft are funding four libraries to promote skilling resources and help community members find low-cost home internet and device solutions with EveryoneOn’s Locator Tool and resources through PCs for People.

  • By partnering with Ohio Means Jobs of Cleveland-Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Public Library is tapping into an audience already seeking employment and career assistance. Learners who enroll with the library and Ohio Means Jobs must complete a specific series of courses (for instance, all of the soft skills courses, or a combination of in-demand job courses and other courses of their choosing). Those learners will be eligible to receive a free tablet computer as part of the grant project.
  • Through El Paso Public Library’s Work PLACE (Public Literacy Access for Careers and Entrepreneurship) program, the library is promoting the free and low-cost resources to entrepreneurs and small businesses who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. In addition, when hotspots are checked out, the library is including an informational postcard, directing users to EveryoneOn’s Locator Tool so they can get low-cost internet at home.
  • Memphis Public Libraries is engaging partners such as Dress for Success Memphis and the community service information line LINC/2-1-1 to reach individuals in need of skills training and job support. Using their JobLINK & Career Readiness Center – a 38-foot computer lab on wheels, with 10 computer stations – they will be able to meet community members where they are.
  • Through the Office Readiness Series offered by New York Public Library’s TechConnect program, learners already improve their skills in the Microsoft Office Suite beyond the novice level. Participants in the Series who take on additional coursework and certifications from Microsoft and LinkedIn will be eligible to receive a free tablet computer as part of the grant project.

PLA Can Help You Succeed

Don’t forget to integrate PLA’s resources into your efforts to teach community members new skills and help them find jobs.