Coursera, the world’s leading online learning platform, 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. National, 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 governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan as well as the U.S. states of Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma, 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, with millions at risk in India.
Governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, and the US states of Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma will be the first to give their unemployed workers free access to Coursera.
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.
“India has shown tremendous leadership in containing the spread of COVID-19. However, as the home to the largest working-age population in the world, it will have to get ahead of the unemployment crisis,” said Leah Belsky, Chief Enterprise Officer, Coursera. “Coursera, along with its community of partners, is ready to serve the millions of workers in India who have lost their jobs and are going to have a hard time returning in a slow economy,”
The Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative is modelled 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. In India alone, over 2,100 programs have been launched across 600 colleges and universities.
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.