New AI Pathways Initiative aims to provide Canadian students with the training and skills development required in today’s AI-fueled economy
Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), through its Talent division ITAC Talent, is pleased to announce the launch of the AI Pathways Initiative. This new talent development program, created in collaboration with Agorize, Isobar Canada, Microsoft Canada and RBC Future Launch, is designed to help unlock new opportunities for students and under-represented communities looking to pursue a career in artificial intelligence (AI).
The focus of this initiative is to equip Canadian students with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle the jobs of the future and be active participants in the digital economy through relevant training, networking, and employability opportunities, including those offered by RBC and Microsoft.
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“It’s not enough to meet the demand for tech skills. We must extend our global leadership in innovation and technology,” explains Angela Mondou, president and CEO, ITAC. “Our role as an industry leader is clear: find people with cutting-edge skills in AI, business or leadership, and shape what tomorrow looks like. The AI Pathways Initiative will help to address both talent development and employer needs, establishing a Canadian talent pipeline that will help drive a successful economy.”
AI Pathways is funded in part by the Government of Canada, and is rooted in a mandate to inform and educate Canada’s youth about the expanse of learning pathways and career strategies that are available to them, and the new tech and multi-disciplinary hybrid AI careers these changes are creating. This is important given that Canada’s need for qualified AI workers is growing exponentially, and most the country’s educational institutions are struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving field. ICTC projects that by 2021, approximately 216,000 new ICT jobs will need to be filled1; many of which will incorporate AI skills and understanding.
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The Initiative will include three key areas of focus, developed under the Made by AI Campaign brand. This includes the AI for Societal Impact Challenge (launched September 23, 2019) and MadeByAI.ca, AI Awareness Week (March 2020), and the AI Pathways Made By AI Forum (March 4, 2020).
This Initiative is an important one for today’s economy. Despite news reports of AI skills shortages and job opportunities, learning pathways and career strategies aren’t all that clear to today’s youth, guidance councillors, parents – and in some cases, employers. In addition, interested students face a dearth of learning opportunities. Greater investment in Canada’s future workforce through concrete learning opportunities, will help build a strong domestic AI industry and reduce inconsistencies in opportunities, education, social status and other disparities across the country.