By Leah Belsky, Chief Enterprise Officer and Kevin Mills, Head of Government Partnerships
As businesses across sectors lay off workers due to an abrupt economic slowdown, the world faces the biggest unemployment crisis in the modern era. The pandemic has affected the livelihoods of 2.7 billion workers globally. In the U.S. alone, jobless claims have surpassed 26 million.
Today, we are proud to announce the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative to help governments worldwide provide unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses. The initiative’s goal is to help impacted workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed. Federal, state, and local governments can sign up until September 30, 2020, and those enrolled by then can learn until the end of the year. The U.S. states of Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma, as well as the governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan will be the first to make the initiative available. Over the next few weeks, more U.S. states and countries around the world will announce the initiative to their people.
Through the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative, governments will be able to provide unemployed workers, many of whom lack financial resources, with job-relevant online learning. The 3,800 courses on Coursera, covering critical business, technology, and data science skills, are taught by some of the world’s leading universities like the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Duke University, University of Michigan, Yale University, and more. The initiative also includes Professional Certificates from industry educators like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, designed specifically to train people for high-demand jobs. The workforce initiative is part of the Coursera for Government offering, which was launched in 2017 to equip government employees and citizens with in-demand skills.
In an important step towards public and private sector partnerships, various government leaders have made the initiative available to their respective states and countries.
“The State of Illinois is dedicated to supporting the thousands of Illinois workers who have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I am proud to see Illinois join this initiative with Coursera, a company with strong ties to the University of Illinois, to make job-relevant online learning available to help impacted workers re-enter the workforce.”
“The partnership with Coursera, OESC, and OU will help currently unemployed Oklahomans further their career paths and ready them to re-enter the workforce with new, valuable skills,” said Oklahoma Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. “As we work to revive our economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, partnerships like this will help diversify our economy and create innovative opportunities for businesses and employees alike.”
“The well-being of Costa Ricans and our resilience relies on our focus to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, which given this situation, are becoming more so the jobs of today,” said President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada. “I am excited to announce that with Coursera, we now have the opportunity to provide our citizens with the technical skills they need to find new, well-paying jobs.”
“We are excited to join this initiative to make online learning widely available to Colombians who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” said President of Colombia Ivan Duque. “With access to courses teaching high-demand digital skills, our citizens will be better prepared to return into new jobs and careers.”
Coursera, along with our community of partners, is ready to serve the millions of workers who have lost their jobs and are going to have a hard time returning in a slow economy. We are honored to help governments around the world in their efforts to alleviate the impact on communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
For more information, please visit https://www.coursera.org/workforce-recovery.