For people, both with and without a college degree, it is a challenging time to find a new job. Not having that piece of paper to show you’ve graduated from college can serve as a barrier to entry for many opportunities. Even with a degree, the job market is still highly competitive.
However, there’s another way to build a career in fast-growing sectors where job openings are plentiful, such as cybersecurity, IT and data analytics. In a conversation with Lisa Gevelber, founder of Grow with Google, she shared how the Big Tech company’s programs are built to help people find new jobs and grow their careers. Gevelber leads Grow with Google, a $1 billion commitment to bridging educational gaps, helping teach skills critical to the future of work and ensuring people don’t get left behind.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai wrote about the importance of Grow with Google’s mission, “Now more than ever, Americans need digital skills to land the jobs they want, advance their careers and grow their businesses.”
Since 2017, Grow with Google has aided nearly 10 million workers in the United States in skills, career and business development.
Google Career Certificates
“We started Grow with Google based on an important value we have at Google, and that is opportunities that are created by technology should truly be available to everyone.” Gevelber added, “We created an alternative—a pathway to get to great jobs.
Grow with Google offers a program called Google Career Certificates. It is designed to help people learn the skills they need for in-demand jobs. The certificates are offered in six high-paying fields, including cybersecurity, data analytics, business intelligence, digital marketing and e-commerce, IT support, project management and user experience design.
The program, all taught by Google experts, is self-paced and online. It can be completed in as little as six months. The certificates are accredited by the American Council on Education, meaning they can also be used to earn college credit.
Since launching Google Career Certificates, over 200,000 people have graduated from the program in the U.S., and over 70% of them report a positive career impact, such as a new job, higher pay or a promotion, within six months of completion.
To connect graduates directly to jobs, the program includes an employer consortium of over 150 companies—including American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, T-Mobile, Walmart and Google—that hire in the certificate fields.
Henry Gage had been interested in technology since childhood but knew college wasn’t his preferred path. At the onset of the pandemic, he left his retail job to avoid potential exposure to the virus.
Gage discovered the Google Career Certificates through Merit America, a workforce development nonprofit. After completing the Google IT Support Certificate program and a year-long stint in an entry-level IT job, he began networking with recruiters and managers at Cisco Meraki. He was ultimately hired as a support operations specialist.
“The Google IT Support Professional Certificate [was] life-changing for me personally because I didn’t want to go to college and I completed the program in two months,” Gage stated.
Now, he gets to enjoy a higher quality of life that includes a well-paying job and a work-life balance that no longer consists of being on call, like he did in retail.
After college, Lauren Harms worked in various positions within the television and film industry before taking time off to raise a family. When she was ready to reenter the workforce, Harms found attaining a new job opportunity extremely difficult and wondered if she was being passed over due to her employment gap.
To increase her odds, Harms widened her search to jobs outside of TV and film, and that’s when she discovered the Google Project Management Certificate. Although Harms hadn’t considered a project management role before, she figured the skills she’d learn would better qualify her for any job.
“It’s so accommodating to moms and working parents,” Harms said, impressed at the program’s structure. “You can do it at your own pace.”
She completed the certificate in five weeks, and said employers immediately took notice. “A few weeks after completion, I already felt like there was a correlation between my new résumé and more interviews.”
In August 2021, Harms started a new job as an administrative business partner at Google. She credits the certificate for getting her back into the workforce and into a new career.
Gevelber said about the Google Career Certificates success stories, “We know that people are amazing learners, so all we needed to do was help them get the knowledge and the skills they needed.”
AI Interview Prep
While these certificates can be valuable in showcasing relevant skills and knowledge, they are just one part of a broader job-seeking strategy. Interviewing is one aspect of the hiring process that can hinder candidates.
“Interviewing can really be daunting. We know that practice makes people better,” said the Grow with Google founder.
Therefore, it has implemented Interview Warmup, an AI tool that helps job seekers prepare for interviews by practicing answering questions. The technology uses machine learning to analyze job seekers’ interview responses and provides feedback on delivery, clarity and content.
Interview Warmup includes modules that offer tips and tutorials on answering frequently asked interview questions and how job seekers can present themselves effectively. The platform consists of a community forum where job seekers can ask questions and get advice from other job seekers and career experts. It also boasts one-on-one coaching and a job board that aligns with the certificate programs.
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