Some of the world’s largest tech companies, Google and Microsoft, are strengthening their relationships with US community colleges.
“Today, we are delighted to announce that all of our Google Career Certificates will be available for free, at all community colleges in the United States and all vocational and technical high schools in the United States,” Lisa Gevelber, Founder of Grow with Google, Make It told CNBC. “One of the other things we announced today, and I think it’s super exciting, is that all of our certificates have now been recommended by the American Council on Education to be recognized as college credits. up to 12 credits, which is the equivalent of four college courses at the bachelor’s level.
Google offers career certificates in four areas: Information Technology, Data Analytics, Project Management, and User Experience Design.
On Friday, Connecticut became the first state of the country to offer the full suite of Google Career Certificates in its state college and university system.
Community colleges and technical high schools “play a critical role in training the workforce: 44% of all US undergraduates attend community colleges, 7.5 million high school students are enrolled in graduate programs. ‘vocational and technical education,’ said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Google, at a press conference at Middlesex Community College in Middletown, Connecticut.
Porat was joined by a crowded panel including U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Colleges and Universities President Terrence Cheng for the ‘announcement.
“This is exactly what workforce development is,” said Lamont. “We have employers looking to hire people with these digital skills, and our community college system has responded quickly by partnering with Google to ensure our colleges are ready to start equipping students with these skills in order to that they can access these skills in demand. careers that pay over $ 60,000.
Beginning in spring 2022, Connecticut will offer a credit course that will incorporate Google’s IT support certification. The state will also provide individuals with credit-free opportunities to obtain Google certificates.
“We’re still figuring out some costs,” Cheng said. “But at the end of the day, if there is a cost, we will work… to find help with the tuition fees.”
The Workforce Development and Continuing Education departments will offer Google IT Support Certification statewide with an online course of at least 150 hours. Cost and planning are being finalized “, we read the program website.
Gevelber explains that Google does not earn any income from its certificates, but the e-learning platform Coursera, which hosts the courses, charges $ 39 per month, and partner colleges can choose to cover the costs of teachers and institutions as they see fit. Google also offers individual scholarships.
It is also possible that community colleges will soon receive an influx of federal funds to further fuel these types of partnerships.
“I hope that in a few weeks we can deliver some very good news to complement these efforts,” Senator Murphy said on Friday. “The Build Back Better Act, which we are about to pass through Congress, will invest historic sums in community colleges, workforce training and students [by] increase the maximum Pell grant and, most importantly, devote $ 5 billion solely to the development of public-private partnerships with community colleges. ”
Senator Blumenthal said the legislation would also mean “$ 20 billion for workforce development through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor.”
Google isn’t the only big tech company connecting with community colleges. On Thursday, Microsoft announced a nationwide campaign with US community colleges to help train and recruit 250,000 workers for the cybersecurity industry.
“Community colleges are the United States’ greatest potential asset for developing the cybersecurity workforce,” reads company announcement. “They are one of the country’s most remarkable and ubiquitous assets, and with targeted assistance, they can act quickly to help alleviate the cybersecurity workforce shortage.”
In recent years, many tech companies have committed to hiring workers without a four-year bachelor’s degree, including at community colleges.
Google alone has a consortium of 150 employers who have agreed to hire Google Career Certificate graduates.
“Our colleges and career paths need to be clear and linked to the needs of the workforce,” Cardona said. “It takes innovation and it also takes intentional collaboration.”