Nebraska University and Google team up to provide career certificates to students, alumni, and residents of Nebraska.

LINCOLN — A new partnership between the University of Nebraska and Google aims to enhance educational opportunities for Nebraskans and address the state’s workforce demands.

On Tuesday, Interim NU President Chris Kabourek revealed plans to introduce Google Career Certificates across various fields. Those interested can pre-register for the programs starting now on a first-come, first-served basis, with classes commencing in the 2024-25 academic year. The program will offer three cycles annually in August, December, and April, with 2,500 slots available in each session.

“I firmly believe in bringing high-quality, affordable educational opportunities to all Nebraskans, regardless of their location or circumstances,” Kabourek expressed in a statement.

The objective of this collaboration, according to Kabourek, is not profit-driven; NU will retain all generated revenue to cover administrative expenses and necessary technology upgrades. The ultimate aim is to provide accessible educational pathways rather than financial gains.

Flexible Learning Options

The Google Career Certificates, instructed by industry experts and endorsed by top employers, are open to NU students, alumni, and Nebraska residents at an exclusive inaugural rate of $20 per enrollment for the first year.

Participants can engage in self-paced learning over a span of three to six months, delving into various courses such as:

  • Cybersecurity
  • IT support
  • Data analytics
  • Digital marketing and e-commerce
  • Project management
  • User experience (UX) design

Additionally, advanced certifications tailored for candidates with multiple years of experience or those looking to progress beyond entry-level certificates are also available in areas like:

  • IT automation with Python
  • Advanced data analytics
  • Business intelligence

U.S. Rep. Mike Flood, R-Neb., voiced his endorsement of the partnership, highlighting the enhanced educational access and expanded career opportunities it offers to Nebraskans. He eagerly anticipates the positive impact it will have on the community.

“Fostering a skilled Nebraska workforce is essential to our state’s economic growth,” Flood affirmed in a public statement.

According to a 2023 report from the American Association of Colleges and Universities, employers overwhelmingly support these “microcredentials,” with two-thirds expressing a preference for job candidates with such certifications for entry-level positions.

Google reports that over 250,000 individuals in the U.S. have obtained a Google certificate, with 75% experiencing positive career outcomes such as new employment, promotions, or salary increases.

“Our commitment to investing in Nebraskans’ technological proficiency and job-ready skills underscores our dedication to enabling individuals to access rewarding employment opportunities and attain economic empowerment,” stated Lisa Gevelber, founder of Grow with Google.

Enhancing Postsecondary Education

Kabourek emphasized that this new alliance aligns with a 2022 legislative mandate that NU actively supported, aiming to boost the percentage of Nebraskans with postsecondary credentials to 70% by 2030.

State Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont successfully shepherded the 2022 resolution through the Legislature with unanimous approval by her committee and a final vote of 32-1.

Tim Jares, dean of the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s College of Business and Technology, lauded the partnership as a valuable asset that complements the faculty’s efforts in enhancing students’ marketability and career prospects.

“Expanding educational opportunities is crucial for our mission. I take pride in the University of Nebraska’s leadership role in extending access to education for Nebraskans and cultivating a skilled workforce for our state’s benefit,” Jares remarked.

Similar career certificate programs are already available at prominent institutions like Syracuse University, the University of Texas system, and two other Big Ten universities — the University of California-Los Angeles and Rutgers.

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