UT System teams up with Google for increased educational degree opportunities

Vivien Ayers, Senior News Reporter

The UT System announced a partnership with Grow with Google to provide free technology-oriented online career certificates on Dec. 9.

“UT Systems’ degree-granting programs are preparing students not just for the job market of today, but the job market of tomorrow,” said Robert Vega, the Texas Career Engagement deputy director. “It concerns (the) consistently evolving (market) and making sure that students have access to what has just become such a hot topic of credentialing.”

The certificates are available in data analytics, digital marketing and e-commerce, project management and IT support and user experience design, according to the website.

According to a March 2022 study by Texas 2036, 54% of jobs in Texas require a postsecondary degree after high school, but only 45% of Texans have the credentials to fulfill these requirements, leading to a deficit in the skilled workforce population. Having a secondary technology-based certification can help students stand out to potential employers and acquire the skills needed for most jobs in today’s digital age, according to the Texas Career Engagement website.

“Pairing a bachelor’s degree with a Google certificate leads to graduates who are both broadly educated and specifically skilled — a winning combination for students and employers,” UT System chancellor James B. Milliken said. “With the Texas population expected to double by 2050 and Texas projected to have the highest net job growth of any state by 2030, UT institutions are proud to be leading efforts to meet our state’s workforce and industry demands while positioning our graduates for success and professional growth in the modern job market.” 

The courses, which can accommodate 500 students, are open to students of any major or year, and the certifications can be directly added to LinkedIn, Vega said. The goal is to provide training for jobs in Texas that require postsecondary certifications, which helps graduates find jobs and retains Texas jobs for Texas workers. 

“I definitely recommend (it) if students want to also dip their toes into a new field, or strengthen their own field by taking one of the certification programs, especially (when it’s) at no cost,” said Alejandra Valles, a finance sophomore who is enrolled in the data analytics certificate. “I think it’s very nice to do it through the school and I feel like it really motivates students to go through (with) it.”

The UT System aims to reach 10,000 students by the end of the year and the Texas Career Engagement hopes to expand the class sizes through an increase in enrollment throughout the programs.

“Through this certification, I feel like I can (get) the degree and the career that I want to make,” Valles said.