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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

UT System and Coursera launch free online micro-credential program

UT students walk down 25th st. on the first day of class, Aug. 21, 2023.

The UT System and online course provider Coursera launched a micro-credential program earlier this month that’s free for all University students, faculty, staff and alumni across its nine academic institutions. Known as the Career Academy, the UT System states it’s the most extensive industry-recognized program from an American university system. 

The Academy offers over 35 micro-credentials, or specialized professional skills, from companies like Google, IBM and Meta. All courses are completely online and self-paced. Robert Vega, Texas Career Engagement deputy director, said the courses can take anywhere from an hour to a few months to complete depending on the subject and pace of the participant. 

“(The Academy) really does expand across a lot of different areas,” Vega said. “The initial program aim is to complement what you’re learning in the classroom with the job market skills for where the marketplace is today.” 

Launched in 2021 to prepare students for the state’s growing demand for graduates with specialized skills, the Texas Credentials for the Future initiative led to the establishment of the UT-Coursera partnership in 2022. The UT System received a $1.5 million grant in January for the new micro-credential initiative. 

“The goal is to continue incentivizing institutions to embed these courses into degree programs so that students can graduate with skill sets that employers are in immediate need of — helping them find job opportunities immediately upon graduating,” a UT System spokesperson said in an email statement. 

According to a Coursera survey conducted earlier this year, 86% of participating students agreed having a micro-credential would aid in success in the workplace. Additionally, surveyed employers said they are 72% more likely to hire a graduate with a professional certificate.

Scott Shireman, global head of Coursera for Campus, said in an email statement that Coursera curated the Career Academy to prepare students for in-demand and well-paying roles.

“These jobs are also critical to any field, not just the technology sector, as digital transformation accelerates across industries,” Shireman said. 

Courses in the Academy will train participants in fields like social media marketing, data analysis, cybersecurity and user experience design. After completing courses, participants can earn entry-level professional certificates and LinkedIn badges. Vega said the Academy is accessible and relevant for students in all areas of study, not just the technology sector. 

Participants can register for the Career Academy at any time on the Texas Career Engagement website. Vega said Texas Career Engagement is also partnering with the Center for Teaching and Learning to incorporate skills from the Academy into available Canvas activities that university faculty can use in the curriculum. 

“You could be interested in a non-tech career, but it’s important to know how AI is affecting society (and) how society and the internet intersect,” Vega said. “It’s always going to be valuable for anyone entering the marketplace.”

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About the Contributor
Sarah Brager, General News Reporter
Sarah is a journalism junior from Buda, Texas. She's currently a senior news reporter, and she previously worked as a life and arts reporter and an opinion columnist. When she's not reporting for the Texan, Sarah loves hiking, drinking outrageous amounts of coffee and doing crossword puzzles.