Coursera Embarks on a New Project to Empower Youth with Job-Relevant Skills

By CIOReview | Thursday, August 13, 2015

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: According to ManpowerGroup Survey 2014, about 40 percent of employers in US and 36 percent of global employers have reported difficulty in filling jobs. The gap between what skills workers possess and what they are hired for has become a considerable issue. Coursera, initiates the ‘Global Skills Initiative’ to address this issue, by uniting the top companies and universities to portray the job-relevant skills.

As part of the initiative, companies like BNY Mellon, Cisco, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Splunk, and UBS have collaborated with one of the Coursera’s university partners to develop online courses on their field of specialization, to provide highly applicable curricular material online for free.

“These collaborations enable companies to grow the global pool of available talent in their respective industries, giving unprecedented numbers of high potential individuals the opportunity to develop job-relevant skills,” mentions Rick Levin, CEO of Coursera.

A series of courses to develop a specific skill area is realized with a real-world project, guest lectures, case-studies and other materials by translating industry experience into course content. The costs incurred by the university for the content production is funded by the program. The result of these collaborations is open access for unlimited number of learners to online courses that are parallel with fast-growing careers.

"Through Coursera's Global Skills Initiative, we're partnering with a top university to provide the world with high-demand, job-relevant skills that we value and prioritize here at Cisco, merging the expertise of best-in-class academics and world-class industry professionals," says Fran Katsoudas, Chief People Officer, Cisco.

Three companies have already initiated this project. BNY Mellon has collaborated with University of Melbourne to create the first Global Skills Initiative Specialization, ‘Essentials of Corporate Financial Analysis and Decision Making’ that is available to enroll. Qualcomm Technologies is sponsoring the University of California, San Diego's Qualcomm Institute for a course on the Internet of Things (IoT). Splunk, a provider of big data software for real-time Operational Intelligence, is sponsoring the San Diego Supercomputer Center for a course specialization in Big Data.

Coursera has also proposed to develop collaborations with Cisco for Security, Microsoft for Big Data and UBS for Investment Management. Each Specialization is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of people each year and soon will be translated to different languages like Chinese, Spanish and Portugese.