Big tech companies announced new collaborations with community colleges and other open-access institutions in the past week—and the companies increasingly are putting real money and support behind those partnerships.
Microsoft last week rolled out an ambitious campaign
with two-year colleges to help train and recruit 250,000 people for the U.S. cybersecurity workforce by 2025
. The next day, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities announced
that Google’s four career certificates will be offered
across the system.
And Grow with Google, the arm of the company that runs the certificate programs, also told CNBC
that it’s making the certificates free to all U.S. community colleges and career high schools. Google already is working with JFF
to help 100 community colleges offer its IT support certification.
The numbers are even worse in cybersecurity, said Brad Smith
, Microsoft’s president and vice chair.
“We need to build a cybersecurity workforce that is both larger and more diverse,“ he wrote in a blog post. "Community colleges are uniquely situated to help the country do both.”
The vote of confidence from big tech sends an important signal about the value and impact of the two-year sector, said Lisa Larson
, a former college president and head of the Education Design Lab’s Community College Growth Engine Fund.
“It also signifies these organizations understand partnerships are critical to help community colleges align their curriculum and training to emerging technologies and high-demand skills and competencies,” she said.