Coursera, the world’s leading online learning platform, today announced the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative to help governments worldwide provide unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses. The initiative’s goal is to help impacted workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed. Federal, state, and local governments can sign up until September 30, 2020, and learners enrolled by then will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. The U.S. states of Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma, as well as the governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan will be the first to make the initiative available. Over the next few weeks, more U.S. states and countries around the world will announce the initiative to their people.
As businesses across sectors lay off workers due to an abrupt economic slowdown, the world faces the biggest unemployment crisis in the modern era. The pandemic has affected the livelihoods of 2.7 billion workers globally. In the U.S. alone, jobless claims have surpassed 26 million.
Through the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative, governments will be able to provide unemployed workers, many of whom lack financial resources, with job-relevant online learning. The 3,800 courses on Coursera are taught by the world’s leading university and industry educators, covering critical business, technology, and data science skills. The initiative also includes Professional Certificates, like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, designed specifically to train people for high-demand jobs.
“Coursera, along with its community of partners, is ready to serve the millions of workers who have lost their jobs and are going to have a hard time returning in a slow economy,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera. “We are honored to help U.S. states and countries around the world in their efforts to alleviate the impact on communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”
In an important step towards public and private sector partnerships, various government leaders have made the initiative available to their respective states and countries.
“The partnership with Coursera, OESC, and OU will help currently unemployed Oklahomans further their career paths and ready them to re-enter the workforce with new, valuable skills,” said Oklahoma Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. “As we work to revive our economy from the COVID-19 pandemic, partnerships like this will help diversify our economy and create innovative opportunities for businesses and employees alike.”
“We are excited to join this initiative to make online learning widely available to Colombians who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” said President of Colombia Ivan Duque. “With access to courses teaching high demand digital skills, our citizens will be better prepared to return into new jobs and careers.”
“The well-being of Costa Ricans and our resilience relies on our focus to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, which given this situation, are becoming more so the jobs of today,” said President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada. “I am excited to announce that with Coursera, we now have the opportunity to provide our citizens with the technical skills they need to find new, well-paying jobs.”
The Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative is modeled after a highly successful initiative that the company launched on March 12, 2020, to offer free courses to colleges and universities that have closed their campuses. In just six weeks, this first initiative has launched 6,400 programs for 2,800 colleges and universities around the world, helping 475,000 displaced students who have enrolled in 1.1 million courses.
The workforce initiative is part of the Coursera for Government offering, which was launched in 2017 to equip government employees and citizens with in-demand skills. Many governments around the world including the United States, Singapore, Philippines, India, Australia, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan have partnered with Coursera to upskill their workforce.
Coursera was founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng with a vision of providing life-transforming learning experiences to anyone, anywhere. It is now a leading online learning platform for higher education, where 56 million learners from around the world come to learn skills of the future. Nearly 200 of the world’s top universities and industry educators partner with Coursera to offer courses, Specializations, certificates, and degree programs. Coursera is backed by leading investors that include Kleiner Perkins, New Enterprise Associates, Learn Capital, and SEEK Group.