Google is offering community colleges and technical education high schools around the U.S. free access to its technology certifications.

According to Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, the initiative is designed to open high-paying technical careers for the diverse student body that attends tech schools and community colleges. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for IT and computer-related occupations is at an all-time high, and it’s estimated to rise another 13 percent from 2020 to 2030.

“Community colleges are critical to workforce development and economic mobility, providing accessible education options for millions of Americans and opening doors to opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach,” Porat wrote in a blog post.

Forty-four percent of American undergraduates attend community colleges. As the primary institutions serving students from underrepresented groups, there is no doubt they play an invaluable role across the nation, she added.

Participating institutions can now offer “Grow With Google” certificate training as part of for-credit courses in four fields: data analytics, project management, user experience design, and information technology support.

Connecticut was the first state in the country to offer the full suite of Google Career Certificates across its state colleges and universities system. The program was first announced on Oct. 29 during a press conference with Connecticut state officials and U.S. Secretary of Education Michael Cardona.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said the state has “employers that are looking to hire individuals with these digital skills” and that the community college system “responded quickly by entering into a partnership with Google to ensure our colleges are ready to start equipping students.”

State universities and community colleges in Connecticut already offer access to training certifications. The certificate in IT support is scheduled to be the first to go statewide in 2022. It will be offered at Connecticut institutions and in a non-credit course through the state university system’s workforce development office.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.