Google and JFF are partnering to expand the Google IT Support Professional Certificate from 30 schools to 100 schools by the end of 2020, according to an announcement on Google’s blog.
“With more than 5.7 million students enrolled in U.S. community colleges, these schools play a vital role in creating economic opportunities,” according to the announcement.
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Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate launched in January 2018 as part of the Grow with Google initiative, which intends to create economic opportunity for all.
So far, the program has helped prepare more than 85,000 for entry-level IT support jobs, with no experience or college degree necessary.
Google’s blog post spotlights Melinda Williams, a cosmetology teacher and salon owner in Ohio, as an example of the success people find in the program.
Williams always loved computers, leading her to enroll in the program through North Central State College in Mansfield, Ohio. She completed the program in five months, and now she’s ready to see where her newfound skills will take her. “I believe it’s never too late to go in a new direction,” she says in the blog post.
The blog post also details new opportunities for students to earn credits after completing Google’s program and earning a certificate.
The program obtained a credit recommendation from the American Council on Education’s ACE CREDIT, which is the industry standard for translating workplace learning to college credit. Students who complete the program can earn a recommended 12 college credits—the equivalent of four college courses at the associate degree level.
A 2019 report shows that 84 percent of learners reported a career impact, such as getting a raise, finding a new job, or starting a new business, within 6 months.
“The IT Support Professional Certificate program has a particular focus on connecting learners to new careers. In fact, 74 percent of learners who entered the program indicated that landing a new job was one of their goals,” according to the report.
The program includes learners who do not have a four-year degree (57 percent), are unemployed and seeking work (20 percent), are in the lowest income tercile (38 percent), and do not have previous experience with an online course (31 percent).
“Learners are also completing the program at a faster rate than anticipated. Initially, we predicted that it would take learners about eight months to complete the certificate, on average, if they were to commit eight to ten hours a week. One year since launch, average time to completion is under six months (150 days), when dedicating five hours per week,” the report notes. “As with most online learning programs, the data shows that learners who move through the content over a shorter timeframe have higher completion rates.”
When learners complete the program, they have access to Google’s Completer Community, which features resources such as simulated interview practice and a job board.
“In order to reach learners with lower education and employment levels in the U.S.–populations that, on average, participate less in online courses
but who research suggests benefit substantially–we provided need-based scholarships and financial assistance to 10,000 learners,” the report highlights.
Google.org worked with a number of nonprofits to increase access to the program among underserved populations, such as low-income students, veterans, and refugees.