Microsoft and online education leader OpenClassrooms has announced a new partnership to train and prepare students for artificial intelligence (AI) jobs in the workplace. The collaboration is designed to provide more students with access to education to learn in-demand skills and to qualify for high-tech jobs, while giving employers access to great talent to fill high-tech roles.

OpenClassrooms is the leading online education-to-employment platform in the world, with millions of students across 170 countries. OpenClassrooms will recruit 1,000 promising candidates throughout France, the UK, and the U.S.

The masters-level online program combines OpenClassrooms programming with Microsoft content and project-based tasks tailored to the AI roles that employers are aiming to fill. The fully online program is intentionally designed to produce high-quality graduates in large numbers by leveraging OpenClassrooms’ popular platform together with up-to-date content and built-in connections to employers looking to fill AI roles. This model benefits students and employers, who gain a cost-efficient pipeline for recruiting new talent.

The demand for next-generation artificial intelligence skills has far outpaced the number of candidates in the job market. One estimate suggests that, by 2022, a talent shortage will leave as many as 30% of AI and data skills jobs open.

“The demand for AI and machine learning opportunities has never been stronger,” says OpenClassrooms co-founder and CEO Pierre Dubuc. “We’re excited to be an innovation partner to Microsoft to usher in new tactics that will bring top talent to the workforce.”

Students who complete the program are guaranteed a job within six months or they will receive a full refund from OpenClassrooms. They will also earn a masters-level diploma accredited in Europe through OpenClassrooms, which is based in Paris, France. The company is actively seeking accreditation in the U.K. and U.S.

“As AI is changing the way we work and the nature of jobs, we have a responsibility to ensure graduates are prepared for the workplace of tomorrow,” says Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Global Sales, Marketing and Operations at Microsoft. “We are excited to partner with OpenClassrooms to help equip people with the skills and opportunities they need to thrive in the digital economy.”

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