In partnership with online course provider Coursera, Google has announced that all community colleges and career and technical education (CTE) high schools in the US can access its professional certificates for free.
The initiative stems from Google’s commitment to helping students navigate a competitive job market and access relevant learning resources regardless of background or financial standing. The tech company also launched the initiative to bolster its relationship with community colleges around the country.
“Today, we’re so excited to announce that all of our Google career certificates will be available for free, to every community college in the United States and to every career and technical high school in the United States,” Grow with Google Founder Lisa Gevelber told CNBC.
Participating colleges would offer industry-relevant skills training to their students in four fields: data analytics, project management, user experience design, and information technology support.
Furthermore, students who complete the career certificates on Coursera could receive college credits by recommendation of the American Council of Education (ACE). Each higher education institution may have its own policies on credit, but ACE can encourage more universities to accept certificate credit.
“All of our certificates now have been recommended by the American Council on Education to be recognized as college credit for up to 12 credits, which is the equivalent of four college courses at the bachelor’s degree level,” Gevelber added.
Connecticut’s Head Start
Google CFO Ruth Porat explained in a press conference how vital community colleges are in strengthening workforce training, as 44 percent of US undergraduates attend community colleges, with 7.5 million high school students enrolling in career and technical schools.
“We believe that to have sustainable economic growth, we must have inclusive growth, and we are committed to continuing to help people develop the digital skills they need to participate in this economy,” said Porat.
Furthermore, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said the state has “employers that are looking to hire individuals with these digital skills,” and that the community college system “responded quickly by entering into a partnership with Google to ensure our colleges are ready to start equipping students.”
Connecticut will be the first state to offer the career certificates to its public college and university system starting in 2022. The state will establish a for-credit course that will use the Google IT Support certification as well as other non-credit opportunities.