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Google starts certificate program to fill empty IT jobs

A worker at Google. Photo: Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images


There are 150,000 open IT jobs in the U.S., and Google wants to make it easier to fill them. Today the company is announcing a certificate program on the Coursera platform to help give people with no prior IT experience the basic skills they need to get an entry-level IT support job in 8 to 12 months. 


Why it matters: Entry-level IT jobs are are typically higher-paying than similar roles in other fields. But they’re harder to fill because, while IT support roles don’t require a college degree, they do require prior experience.

  • The median annual wage for a computer network support specialist was $62,670 in May 2016
  • The median annual wage for a computer user support specialist was $52,160 in May 2016.

The impetus: Natalie Van Kleef Conley, former head of Google's tech support program, was having trouble finding IT support specialists so she spearheaded the certificate program.  It’s also part of Google’s initiative to help Americans get skills needed to get a new job in a changing economy, the company told us. 

  • Enrollment begins today and online classes start around Jan 23.

After completing the program, certificate holders will be connected with other companies looking for entry-level support workers. Those companies include: Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKSystems, UPMC — in addition to Google.

The visa connection: A lot of companies struggle to fill these roles, which is why so many end up turning to H-1B visa holders who have the required skills. This certificate curriculum is an acknowledgement from these employers that they’re going to need to train Americans for those jobs, since the Trump administration has made it clear it will make it harder to rely on foreign talent. 

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