An upcoming collaboration between UCLA Extension and Google will provide a no-cost career service program structured to support underserved communities in Los Angeles.
The collaboration will launch in 2023, offering career services and courses in high-demand STEM fields – including data analytics, information technology support, project management and computer automation – through the Python programming language and various design program platforms.
The initiative extends from the current UCLAxCareerBridge program, which launched in 2021 and was funded by a $2.9 million grant from the state of California and Grow with Google , an online Google-run extension school that partners with different university campuses and businesses. Both programs share a common mission to provide low- to no-cost certifications and resources to in-demand fields, according to the UCLAxCareerBridge and Grow with Google websites.
Over half of Grow with Google’s 70,000 graduates are from underrepresented groups, and it partners specifically with groups such as women-owned businesses, veterans, Latino communities and justice-impacted groups, according to its website
To qualify for the program, students would need a GED or high school diploma, though some specialized certifications may require other prerequisites, according to the program’s website.
The courses are taught by specialized Google employees and are structured to be time efficient, with students receiving a certification in around three to six months, according to the Grow with Google website. Each course provides hands-on labs, interactive assessments and additional services including orientation, interview preparation and point-of-contact advisement supported by Grow with Google and UCLA Extension.
Layla Banu, a student enrolled in UCLAxCareerBridge’s data science program, said in an emailed statement that she found the online certification process to be convenient, offering work-life balance as she completes the course alongside her current position as an AmeriCorps researcher.
“This program offers online learning which is a great cost-effective option for students with added comfort of studying at (a) self-paced environment,” Banu said in the statement.
The program plans to expand from UCLAxCareerBridge’s current certifications in data science, substance abuse counseling and early childhood education through the collaboration. After Google Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Gevelber met with UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in May, they decided on the benefits of a partnership that would directly target the LA community, said Emily Olson, a UCLA Extension spokesperson.
Olsen added that UCLAxCareerBridge would work with local community organizations in LA to qualify students who otherwise would not be able to afford UCLA Extension’s current programs.
UCLA Extension Dean Eric Bullard said the co-branded trainings strive to broaden inclusive access to education.
“Google’s top-notch tech training and UCLA Extension’s high quality student support and career services complement each other well, providing a unique collaboration to support student success, expand job opportunities and stimulate continued lifelong learning,” said Bullard in an emailed statement.
The program hopes to help graduates get jobs and higher pay as they enter the workforce, according to Grow with Google’s website. Graduates will have access to an employer association with membership from companies such as Accenture, Deloitte, Verizon and Google through the Google platform.
For students like Banu, who hope to advance their careers in highly competitive fields, this kind of exposure provides opportunities for networking and job placement upon receiving a cost-free certificate.
“When Google and UCLA Extension are agreed to join hands towards a common goal of providing high in-demand training to underserved communities … this collaborative effort would be a resounding success,” Banu said in the emailed statement.