Last month, the European Commission announced it is launching a network of providers of Massive Open Online Courses – or MOOCs – related to web and apps skills to foster more ICT talent. The network aims to map the demand for web-related skills across Europe and to promote the use of MOOCs.

Estimates show that Europe faces up to 900,000 unfilled ICT jobs and the number of digital jobs are growing by 3% each year. MOOCs offer a unique way to develop more highly skilled technical talent. This approach is another step toward revolutionizing higher education, and high-speed connectivity and the cloud are making it possible.

To continue to drive innovation, we need to address the shortage of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees and expand access to computer science education for all students.

The Commission’s new network is part of the Startup Europe initiative, a plan aimed at strengthening the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in Europe and contributing to innovation, growth and jobs.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes noted:

  • "By 2020, 90% of jobs will need digital skills. That is just around the corner, and we aren’t ready! Already businesses in Europe are facing a shortage of skilled ICT workers. We have to fill that gap, and this network we are launching will help us identify where the gaps are. This goes hand in hand with the work being done through the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs".

As history has shown, technological change transforms the skills and education needed for success. It also eliminates some old jobs and spawns new ones – as we’ve seen with the app economy. Our world is becoming even more connected. To continue to drive innovation, we need to address the shortage of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees and expand access to computer science education for all students.

Last year, AT&T announced it was teaming up with Georgia Tech and Udacity Inc. to create the first-ever Tech Online Master of Science in Computer Science degree that can be completed entirely through a MOOC platform. During a three-week period last Fall, 2,360 people applied for the program from 81 countries around the world. This was approximately 75 percent more applications than are received for the on-campus program during an entire year.

Classes began in January and 401 students were offered admission during the Spring 2014 semester (additional applicants will be admitted for subsequent terms). The average age of these students is 34.8, about 11 years older than their on-campus counterparts. And, more than 80 of the initial students are employees of AT&T.

The MOOC model increases access to education making it more inclusive for everyone. And, it will help provide us all with a highly skilled workforce to deliver the digital economy that is so important to economic growth, today and in the future.

View the original post on the AT&T Global Public Policy Blog.

About the Author

Alberto Zilio

Director of Public Affairs – Europe

Alberto Zilio

Alberto Zilio is Director of Public Affairs – Europe for AT&T, one of the largest communications company in the world, and is responsible for coordinating public affairs activities in the region. Previously, he was associate director for an innovative public affairs consultancy in Brussels, leading the ICT and telecom team. He also worked as senior manager at DIGITALEUROPE, the European Lobby of the Digital Industry, where he was responsible for all Digital Economy dossiers and relations with the European Parliament and political parties. Alberto began his career in public policy working as an European affairs advisor for Telecom Italia in Brussels, working with the European Parliament and European Commission on telecom and ICT issues. He holds a degree in International and Diplomatic Studies and a Master’s in Management of Innovation at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy. Alberto is also a member of RENA (the Italian network for excellence) leading the ICT section of the association. Alberto was recently selected by the Italian Government as one of the major Italian talents under 30. 

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