April 16, 2024

Google partnership to support career, workforce growth in Nebraska

D. B. and Paula Varner Hall

A new University of Nebraska partnership will allow Nebraskans to earn Google Career Certificates in a variety of fields crucial to the state’s workforce growth and competitiveness, including cybersecurity, IT, data analytics and business intelligence.

The partnership between the NU system and Google was announced April 16. Pre-registration for the Google programs is open.

The programs will be offered in three cycles in 2024-25, with start dates in August, December and April. A total of 2,500 seats are available in each of the three sessions on a first-come, first-served basis. The Google programs — developed and taught by Google experts and vetted by leading employers — are open to NU system students, alumni of any University of Nebraska campus, and Nebraska residents at a first-year rate of $20 per enrollment.

“This is an incredible opportunity not only for our students to supplement their degrees with additional credentials, but for all Nebraskans to gain new skills and move up in their careers without having to uproot their families or jobs,” said Chris Kabourek, interim president of the NU system. “As a native of rural Nebraska myself, I believe strongly that every Nebraskan should have access to quality, affordable educational opportunities no matter where they live or what their personal circumstances are.

“This is one more way the University of Nebraska is working to meet the needs of our citizens and address the urgent workforce challenges facing our state.”

U.S. Congressman Mike Flood congratulated the university for delivering the option to Nebraskans.

“Developing Nebraskans to take the jobs of the future is one of the cornerstones of growing Nebraska’s economy,” Flood said. “Options like the Google Career Certificate program help provide affordable access to both enrolled students and people working who need more flexible options. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this is going to have as NU provides yet another pathway for Nebraskans to pursue their dreams and expand their career horizons.”

Under the partnership, students and Nebraskans can enroll in the following Google Career Certificates. The programs prepare learners for entry-level roles, with no experience required, in three to six months of part-time study:

  • Cybersecurity;
  • IT Support;
  • Data Analytics;
  • Digital Marketing and E-Commerce;
  • Project Management; and
  • User Experience Design.

The following advanced certificates are also available, designed for learners with several years of experience or who have completed foundational Google Career Certificates in a related field:

  • IT Automation with Python;
  • Advanced Data Analytics; and
  • Business Intelligence.

For current university students, pairing a “microcredential” like a Google Career Certificate with their bachelor’s degree program can enhance skillsets and make them more competitive in the job market. A 2023 report from the American Association of Colleges and Universities, for instance, found strong support among employers for microcredentials, with two-thirds saying they would prefer to hire college graduates with microcredentials for entry-level positions.

Google Career Certificates can benefit alumni and Nebraskans as well by allowing them to swiftly upskill in today’s rapidly evolving workforce.

To date, 250,000 Americans have completed the Google Career Certificate program, and 75% of them report a positive career impact, such as a new job, promotion, or raise. Thousands of employers hire from the program including an employer consortium of more than 150 national employers

“Google is proud to work with the University of Nebraska to offer the Google Career Certificates program to people across the state,” said Lisa Gevelber, founder of Grow with Google. “We’re committed to investing in Nebraskans to ensure that they have the tech and other job ready skills to enter the workforce and reach their full economic potential.”

Kabourek noted that the new partnership between the University of Nebraska and Google is aligned with broad statewide goals for increased educational attainment. The Board of Regents in 2022 endorsed a legislative goal for 70% of Nebraskans to hold postsecondary credentials, in line with projections showing that a rising share of Nebraska jobs will require education beyond high school. Technology, IT and business are among the fields in high workforce demand.

The Google partnership is part of a broad strategy at the university to expand access to microcredentials and professional development opportunities to more Nebraskans and support workforce growth in the state. The Google Career Certificates will be offered through NU Advance, the university’s existing platform for online non-credit and professional development courses. Taken together, the growing catalog of learning opportunities available through NU Advance provide significant opportunities for Nebraskans to enhance their competitiveness and mobility in the job market at an affordable cost.

The new noncredit offerings also supplement current strategies in the University of Nebraska’s business and engineering colleges, where the deans are working together to offer current students and alumni in-demand specializations from Google as well as IBM, Salseforce, Hubspot, Meta and others. Having access to market-ready specializations will help learners in the colleges be more competitive as they complete their degrees, enter the workforce or look for new job opportunities. Faculty can also stay current in rapidly moving fields.

In partnering with Google to offer career certificates, the University of Nebraska joins a list of leading institutions including the University of Texas System, Rutgers and UCLA.