University of Texas System, Coursera Team Up to Launch Microcredential Program
Editor & Writer
Editor & Writer
- The University of Texas System and the online education platform Coursera are teaming up to offer nondegree
microcredentialsto students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
- That will include training for entry-level professional certificates from companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Salesforce, according to a press release.
- Those credentials will come at no extra cost to students as part of the Texas Credentials for the Future program.
- The specialized training will help prepare students for high-demand jobs in fast-growing areas, officials said.
The University of Texas System and the online education platform Coursera on Wednesday launched the largest nondegree credential program of its kind at a U.S. university system, setting the stage for in-demand training at no additional cost to students.
Students, faculty, staff, and even alumni now have access to Coursera's host of professional certificates in its Career Academy, according to a press release. That includes more than 35 entry-level certificates offered by companies including Google, Microsoft, and other major tech and business leaders.
Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, noted in an online blog that the partnership will serve more than 246,000 students, faculty, and staff. Texas' population is expected to double by 2050, Maggioncalda wrote, and job growth in the state is expected to continue at a meteoric pace over the next decade.
The job market is changing rapidly, and to meet new employer and student demands, universities must also evolve, Maggioncalda wrote.
While some states and private employers have moved away from requiring a four-year degree for jobs in recent years, demand for experience and training will continue to grow, according to the release: More than 60% of jobs in Texas will require at least some degree or certificate by 2030.
The partnership with Coursera will open up a wide range of training opportunities for students in the University of Texas System, including in high-demand fields like data analysis, cybersecurity, app development, social media marketing, and designer.
Coursera and the University of Texas System previously launched a pilot phase of the program in December of 2022, and 3,000 students completed more than 6,000 courses in its first semester.
Nondegree credentials, also called microcredentials, have increased in popularity and demand in recent years.
Google, for example, has expanded its popular Career Certificates program to community college students across the country for free. The tech giant also recently committed $20 million to cybersecurity clinics at colleges across the country as part of a larger push from both private employers and government officials to fill a growing workforce gap in that key, in-demand field.
Earning multiple postsecondary credentials that build on each other over time can lead to better earnings, particularly for low-income students, a report from the RAND Corp. found earlier this year. Those credentials lead to the best returns on investment in areas like engineering and information technology, that report found.
BestColleges reported in 2021 that students who earned both a degree and nondegree credential rated their educational experience as higher than those who earned only a degree.
Most employers find value in nondegree credential programs and found those training programs to be helpful in cutting back on workforce gaps, although employers also said they wanted more proof of the effectiveness of nondegree credential programs before partnering with schools.
Employers said in a report from Collegis Education in partnership with the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) earlier this year that nondegree credentials added practical, real-world experience for students.