ASU’s Learning Enterprise, a new ASU initiative targeted at improving economic opportunities for all, and Chegg’s online career-building service, Thinkful, are teaming up to offer new educational courses in the technology field for non-degree seeking students.
These courses are available for anyone — not just ASU students — to sign up. Courses will be offered through a digital boot camp, which covers the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in data science, digital marketing and software engineering fields.
In the end, students will be proficient in writing code, organizing data and building web applications. Students will receive a certificate after completing the program.
Kimberly Merritt, vice president of Learning Enterprise, said this course is offered to individuals who want a faster route to receiving a better job.
"This program is one of our signature efforts to really ensure that learners across the spectrum, across our communities, have access to high-quality programming," Merritt said.
Merritt said she was looking forward to working with private industries such as Chegg to create better access to career skills and jobs for learners.
John Fillmore, president of Chegg Skills, said the digital and technology field is growing, and wanted to expand access for more people of different backgrounds to be involved.
"We all know that's where the growth in the economy is going to come as we come out of this recession," Fillmore said.
Learners have the option to take the courses in a cohort with a structured schedule with other students, or on one's own time. The course duration is between five to six months.
Fillmore said they wanted to make the courses more flexible for adult learners who "have jobs, families and so many complications in their lives."
In addition, students in this course have access to one-on-one mentoring. Fillmore said having a mentor is essential in teaching people the skills necessary for these digital jobs because they provide support in interview preparation and prepare students for gaining skills for jobs.
"This can provide a baseline that says 'here's where you're really strong' or 'here's where you're struggling,'" Fillmore said.
To ensure learners end up with a job, students have access to help from ASU's and Chegg's career services, he said.
"You get that very local perspective as well as the global perspective that ASU brings to it," Fillmore said.
Although COVID-19 did have an impact on fast-tracking the implementation of the program, it was in the works beforehand and "made the transition to this type of learning and learning modules easier," said University spokesperson Anne DeGraw.
"The pandemic isn't the reason we're doing things, but what has really happened is it has showcased all the inequities and gaps we have" within underrepresented communities, Merritt said.
Many individuals lost their jobs and needed a source of income because of the pandemic, making the need for a service like this even greater, Fillmore said.
He said this is an "opportunity for them to come in and find an alternative pathway to get into that digital economy."
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