Google is working to educate the next generation of IT professionals, and California Community Colleges will be there every step of the way.
Following the launch of Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate Program in January, colleges in the Bay Area have launched a successful pilot program that integrates Google’s course content into the existing college curriculum. The goal is to create an environment where students can complete Google’s cutting-edge content, with support and engagement from a community college faculty member, and receive college credit.
Google’s IT Support Professional certificate is designed to help students with no prior IT training get the experience needed for an entry-level job within one year. The certificate was created to help fill the estimated 150,000 open IT support jobs in the U.S.
Google Project Lead, Natalie Van Kleef Conley had been in conversations with Richard Grotegut, Bay Area Deputy Sector Navigator for IT and Computer Science several weeks before its January launch. She introduced the course content to the ICT-Digital Media Sector team and invited them to participate in a beta test of the program.
Through this program preview, the Sector team identified that the Google course content aligns with four of the California Community Colleges IT Model Curriculum courses. The paired content also meets the requirements for college certificates and A.S. degrees.
Three colleges in the Bay Region: Las Positas, Cabrillo, and Diablo Valley, agreed to step forward and offer the program and launch in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. Each college was able to move quickly with the offering as the IT Model Curriculum courses were already part of their college catalogs.
Las Positas College launched their Computer Network Technology (CNT)/Google certificate program August 20, 2018 with the embedded Google course content. The name recognition Google brings quickly caused a buzz. Both sections of the first course filled – more than doubling the enrollment from previous semesters.
Zachary Springfield is the first to earn his certificate through Las Positas this fall. He says that if not for this program, his life path would be completely different.
“The beginning of the program took me back to my childhood days, when I first cracked open the CPU case with a screwdriver. Coursera changed my perspective of computers. If it wasn’t for Coursera and the LPC classes, I would be interested in building houses and not motherboards.”
Online classes and a lot of personal dedication helped Springfield complete the program. “I work nights at UPS from 3:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. I would go to the gym and come home and study until 9:00, sometimes even 10:00 p.m., sleep until work started and do it all over again,” he said.
Pilot colleges found that instructor connection is essential for student retention and for encouraging skills like teamwork that will be essential in the working world. “Retention has been a problem in our online classes,” Grotegut said. “A dedicated instructor brings value and helps the cohort work together.” Instructors also help to facilitate the students’ use of the college’s Canvas course management system and the Coursera platform where the Google content resides.
Courses will begin at Cabrillo College and Diablo Valley College in January.
“I think it’s going to be win-win for the community colleges and for Google. This will show the industry that we can be nimble,” said Grotegut.
For more information about the pilot program, contact Richard Grotegut at firstname.lastname@example.org.