Google announces free program to get IT Support certification

Going to college these days is a lot of money, and many potentially excellent IT support candidates miss out on opportunities without some sort of education or training. They just need a break, and Google is offering them one through its free Grow with Google program.

The new eight- to 12-month online course will allow those who complete it to earn a Google IT Support Professional Certificate. Citing data from job market research firm Burning Glass, Google said there are more than 150,000 IT jobs open just in the United States right now. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics says those types of jobs average about $52,000 a year.

"In 2014 we partnered with the nonprofit organization Year Up to create a program aimed at training and hiring non-traditional talent for IT support internships and full-time roles," Google Product Lead Natalie Van Kleef Conley said in a blog post, explaining that the company couldn't find enough qualified IT Support staff at the time. "The program was a success, and its graduates inspired us to think about how we could make a bigger impact beyond Google. ... Now we’re using the training we implemented at Google as the basis of a new program available to anyone, anywhere, as part of the Grow with Google initiative. No tech experience or college degree is necessary."

The course offers more than 64 hours of video training and a variety of hands-on labs. Google will also make the course widely accessible by subsiding the $49 a month for the classes through Coursera, providing financial support for more than 10,000 individuals. The offer is for a limited time and for U.S. residents only. If interested, you will need to apply and be approved. Google's grant program will also offer need-based scholarships through various nonprofit organizations, such as Year Up, Per Scholas, Goodwill, Student Veterans of America, and Upwardly Global. Potential candidates can also get full assistance if they qualify.

The first set of classes is scheduled to begin on January 23 and require 8-10 hours per week.

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