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August 30, 2023

Google partners with Pa. state schools to offer career-training certificates

The program provides skills instruction for jobs in cybersecurity, data analytics, e-commerce, IT support and digital marketing

Education Job Training
Google Career Program Provided Image/Commonwealth Media Services

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has partnered with Google to provide Google Career Certificates in cybersecurity, digital marketing, IT support and other fields to students and those looking to continue their education. Above, Gov. Shapiro, State Rep. Jordan Harris and representatives from Google and PASSHE announce the partnership.

Google has partnered with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to provide job training for in-demand technology fields to students at state universities, the company announced on Tuesday. The certificates will also be available to non-students, according to Gov. Josh Shapiro.

The partnership will pair online training with PASSHE students' undergraduate courses. Commonwealth, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, Pennsylvania Western, Millersville, Shippensburg and Slippery Rock universities are participating in the program. Non-students can access Google Career Certificates through non-credit options with the schools and partnerships with employers, who are invited to partner with a PASSHE school for the program.

Certificates can be earned in the fields of cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing, e-commerce, business intelligence, information technology support, project management and user experience design. No previous experience is necessary. 

The initiative is part of Gov. Shapiro's ongoing effort to tackle workforce development in Pennsylvania, a cause he took up shortly after entering office. 

"It's time for a blueprint for higher education focused on competitiveness and workforce development, one that is grounded in access and affordability," said Gov. Shapiro. "Today, PASSHE has given us a clear example of what that can look like in practice, by connecting classroom learning to job-ready skills development so our students get the best of both worlds." 

Google's certificates take three to six months to complete, with about 10 hours of studying required each week. The company says that 75% of certificate-holders have experienced positive career outcomes, like new jobs or promotions, within six months of earning a certificate. The median salary of a certificate-holder is about $76,000 per year, according to Google. 

The company also offers industry specializations for many of its certificate programs, like data analytics in finance or the public sector, though it's unclear whether those programs will be made available to PASSHE students. 

Google's program includes an employer consortium of more than 150 companies, including Pennsylvania-based ones like Expedient, CMI Media Group and the Project Management Institute, and Google itself, which has an office in Pittsburgh. Earning a certificate gains access to Google's CareerCircle, which offers interview and career support and a job board to connect with employers, including those in the consortium.

More than 200,000 people have graduated from the program in the United States, according to Google. 

"PASSHE is proud to partner with Google to provide students with the knowledge and skills for in-demand jobs and support the strong workforce that Pennsylvania needs," said Cynthia Shapira, chairwoman of the PASSHE board of governors. "Offering Google Career Certificates along with our undergraduate courses prepares students with the comprehensive education and specific skills that employers want. Additionally, non-students can prepare for entry-level jobs with the option to continue learning more advanced credentials or pursue a four-year degree." 

Those who want to participate in the program can fill out an interest form on PASSHE's website. Pennsylvanians who are not enrolled at one of the participating state universities can also access the certificates through nonprofit organizations like the YMCA, Family Promise and Raices Cyber Org