Google is giving all U.S. community colleges free access to their 4 career certificates

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world, Google and Microsoft, are reinforcing their relationships with U.S. community colleges.

“Today, we’re so excited to announce that all of our Google career certificates will be available for free, to every community college in the United States and to every career and technical high school in the United States,” Lisa Gevelber, founder of Grow with Google, tells CNBC Make It. “One of the other things we actually announced today, which I think is super exciting, is that all of our certificates now have been recommended by the American Council on Education to be recognized as college credit for up to 12 credits, which is the equivalent of four college courses at the bachelor’s degree level.”

Google offers career certificates in four fields: information technology, data analytics, project management and user experience design.

On Friday, Connecticut became the first state in the country to offer the full suite of Google Career Certificates across its state colleges and universities system.

Community colleges and technical high schools “play a critical role in workforce training: 44% of all U.S. undergraduates attend community colleges, 7.5 million high school students are enrolled in career and technical education programs,” said Ruth Porat, Google’s chief financial officer, at a press conference at Middlesex Community College in Middletown, Connecticut.

Porat was joined by a packed panel including U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Terrence Cheng for the announcement.

“This is exactly what workforce development is all about,” said Lamont. “We have employers that are looking to hire individuals with these digital skills, and our community college system responded quickly by entering into a partnership with Google to ensure our colleges are ready to start equipping students with these skills so they can enter these in-demand careers that pay over $60,000.”

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