Millersville, Shippensburg and several other state-sponsored universities are partnering with Google to offer professional certificates in fields such as cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing and project management.
- Courses leading to the so-called Google Career Certificates will be available to both students and non-students interested in burnishing their resumes.
- Students will be able to earn the certificates — and gain college credit — as part of their regular undergraduate programming, according to a press release from Gov. Josh Shapiro.
- Non-students will have online access to the Google courses, potentially through partnerships with employers.
What is it: Tech giant Google launched its career certification program in 2018 as part of a broader effort to expand career opportunities for workers without college degrees.
- A credential from Google is supposed to help people land jobs in high-demand, technology-based fields.
- People generally take three to six months to earn a certificate, with no more than 10 hours of study per week, according to Google.
- More than 150 employers have promised to consider the certificates as part of their hiring process. They include Ford, Salesforce, Walmart and Deloitte, which has an office in Cumberland County.
Where is this happening: The certificates are on offer from eight schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
- They are Commonwealth, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, Millersville, PennWest, Shippensburg and Slippery Rock.
- Commonwealth is the combination of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities.
- PennWest represents the mash-up of California, Clarion and Edinboro universities.
- “Offering Google Career Certificates along with our own undergraduate courses prepares students with the comprehensive education and specific skills that employers want,” PASSHE chair Cynthia Shapira said in a statement. “Additionally, non-students can prepare for entry-level jobs with the option to continue earning more advanced credentials or pursue a four-year degree.”
Is there a cost: Not for students and non-students accessing the courses through state schools, according to PASSHE spokesperson Kevin Hensil.
- The goal is to keep the courses no- or low-cost, Hensil said, adding that schools will likely seek grants and employer support.
- “This is the first step in the initiative,” he said. “We will be constantly evaluating how to use the training to best serve students and workers.”
- Access to the courses typically costs $49 per month through Coursera, an online education company.
Does it work: Google reports that 75% of people who earn a certificate report getting a new job, promotion or other career boost within six months.
- Other universities around the U.S. — including Arizona State, Columbia and Syracuse — also have begun to offer the certificates,
- However, the program does have critics: A writer at Washington Monthly argued that professional certificates like Google’s have a place in today’s fast-moving economy but would benefit from greater accountability.