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AVPN and Google.org Launch $15M AI Opportunity Fund to Empower Asia’s Workforce With AI Knowledge

AVPN, the largest network of social investors in Asia, announced the launch of the AI Opportunity Fund: Asia-Pacific, with the support of  Google.org and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The USD 15-million Fund is a three-year programme to equip Asia’s workforce with essential artificial intelligence (AI)  knowledge and tools required for the evolving work landscape, thereby ensuring that jobs  and roles presented by AI are accessible to more people in the region, specifically those  from underserved communities.

The Fund will be available through an Open Call to  identify and select the non-profit organisations, social enterprises, and workforce  associations in Asia-Pacific which meaningfully reach the workers who will be most  impacted by the workforce transitions caused by AI. Selected organisations will receive  comprehensive support, including guidance, financial support and tailored AI training  based on foundational AI courses designed by Google and its external partners.

AI chatgpt

Photo: Freepik

“AI presents tremendous opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region, but it’s crucial to equip  people with the skills needed to thrive. This new AI Opportunity Fund in Asia Pacific will  help to empower underserved communities and ensure everyone benefits from the  transformative power of AI,” said Scott Beaumont, President of Google Asia-Pacific.

Employers in Asia-Pacific are confident in AI’s potential to boost productivity. Over the  next five years, 93% expect to use generative AI tools, with some even offering salary  bumps of up to 44% for workers with AI skills1. While AI is perceived positively by  employees, 16% of those surveyed by PwC believed AI could replace their jobs2. The work  uncertainty compounds for those already disadvantaged, where a third of the population  does not use the internet and where high job informality persists3.

Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of AVPN, said “Building an AI-ready workforce is an  essential social mandate for businesses and governments, and one that can unlock Asia’s  full workforce potential, considering this region will have 165 million working-age people  by 2030. There is urgency for such an enablement initiative, as the new world work  realities unfold, and we start to see the socioeconomic impact of AI work transition on  workers who have limited support to adapt and catch up. AVPN is optimistic about  leveraging the knowledge and reach of impact organisations that are already actively  working on the ground to bridge the gaps for an AI Workplace Just Transition, and to  ensure that the benefits of AI work opportunities reach more of our workers.”

“Asia’s evolving work landscape, shaped by the increasing influence of AI, highlights the  pressing need to bridge critical skills and knowledge gaps in the underserved  communities. The AI Opportunity Fund: Asia-Pacific will support organisations to upskill and reskill workers, ensuring they can access and benefit from the evolving opportunities  in the age of AI,” said Jason Rush, Principal Regional Cooperation Specialist, ADB.

Applications for the AI Opportunity Fund: Asia-Pacific will open soon. Interested  organisations can register their interest to be notified when applications open here.