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Helping the state of Ohio build a digitally skilled workforce

February 16, 2022
Alice Kamens

Strategic Projects and Program Manager, Higher Education, Google Cloud

Digital skills training is critical to the future of work and economic mobility in America—82% of jobs that require less than a bachelor's degree while paying a living wage are described as “digitally intensive,” (Burning Glass) but almost one-third of U.S. workers lack digital skills (National Skills Coalition). This growing divide between demand for digital skills and the supply of trained workers has encouraged states like Ohio to consider new approaches to closing the skills gap. 

Like many states, Ohio has a large number of open jobs that require digital skills—there have been over 12,0001 new cloud, IT Support, user experience (UX) design, data analyst, and project management jobs posted in the state of Ohio in the past 12 months (Burning Glass). These new jobs need trained technical workers, and local employers across the government, health, retail, and financial sectors are searching for talent with the skills needed to fill them.To help address this growing challenge, Google is partnering with Ohio to provide fundamental digital skills, Google Career Certificates, professional Google Cloud certifications, and more. 

Google is enabling Ohio’s workforce system to support jobseekers in five key ways:

Google Cloud Skills Boost is open to anyone and free to start

State employees and residents of Ohio alike are successfully using Google Cloud Skills Boost to grow their cloud skills. Hundreds of Ohio learners have successfully accessed Google Cloud Skills Boost, Google Cloud’s library of 700+ labs and courses to help simplify cloud skills. Right now, Google has made this library free for the first 30 days, enabling residents to start working toward certifications they need to fill cloud-based roles without added cost.

Learners in Google Cloud Skills Boost can earn certifications or simply brush up on skills they need professionally. Entirely online, the pace of learning is up to the user and covers everything from cloud basics to more advanced skills. 

Accessible Career Certificates and job opportunities for residents

We're making Google Career Certificates more accessible to Ohioans and the public and private sector community partners that serve and employ them. Thousands of Ohio-based learners are using Google Career Certificates to gain the skills they need to start careers in the career fields of data analytics, IT support, and project management, and user experience (UX) design. These are in-demand, well-paying career fields that employers and workforce development institutions across the public and private sectors are hiring for. The Certificates do not require prior experience or a degree, and 75% of graduates nationally report a positive career impact in their career trajectory (e.g., new job, raise or promotion) within six months of completion.2

Google has partnered with non-profit organizations and local education partners to increase awareness of Google Career Certificates and help Ohio residents take advantage of the courses, which are free for Community College and Career and Technical Education (CTE) high schools. Additionally,  through our Employer Consortium, which includes Expedient, Pep Promotions, and many employers that hire within Ohio, we’re connecting Google Career Certificate program graduates who have job-ready skills with more than 150 employers across a diverse range of industries.

Partnerships with schools

In Ohio, colleges and universities offer training and certifications through our Google Cloud Career Readiness Program and free Google Cloud Computing Foundations curriculum. By bringing Google Cloud into the classroom, we're helping expose students to the cloud technology they'll encounter in the workforce. We’ve also enabled faculty at 17 Ohio institutions to help their students access Google Cloud by issuing more than $225,000 of Google Cloud teaching credits.

Additionally, Google Career Certificates are free for all community colleges and career and technical (CTE) high schools to include in their curriculum. The American Council on Education (ACE) has recommended each certificate for up to 12 college credits, which gives Ohioans who have some post-secondary education but no college degree an affordable on-ramp to earning their diploma.

Tech skills don't have to start at the university level, either. We've partnered with Ohio and several other states to help build digital skills for the future by bringing programs like Google Workspace into K-12 classrooms and helping teachers build lessons around digital literacy, coding, and more.

Government employee training

With the move to remote work becoming permanent for some, employers need to go beyond ensuring new hires have the skills needed to manage a digitally connected workplace. Agencies also want to be sure that their current employees have the skills they need to manage and make the most of cloud capabilities. One example: the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services secured licenses for their staff to get full access to on-demand Google Cloud training for 12 months, enabling their staff to build cloud skills on a flexible timeline. And anyone--State of Ohio employee or otherwise--can access Google Cloud Skills Boost for free for the first 30 days to build their own cloud skills.

Investing in a talent ecosystem

In 2019, Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted launched the State of Ohio’s TechCred program. This program gives Ohio employers the chance to upskill current and future employees, and two pathways already available through TechCred are Google’s Cloud certifications and the Google IT Support Certificate. Ohio employers who enroll their eligible employees in Google Cloud training or Google Career Certificates can be reimbursed up to $2,000 per credential once employees complete a Google Cloud certification or the Google IT Support Certificate. What’s great about TechCred is that employers can continually apply for funding. Funding rounds are typically held every other month and employers can receive up to $30,000 per round and up to $180,000 per year.

“Innovation and technology are changing what skills we need to start and lead a successful career, and we must help people efficiently earn the skills they need to succeed,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. “This requires new ways to deliver education and skill development, and TechCred has proven to be an effective way to up-skill tens of thousands of Ohioans.”

Google is also investing in expanding its data center and Google Cloud region presence in central Ohio. These investments bring job opportunities as well as skilled workers to the state and help grow the local talent pipeline further.

See how we're helping build an empowered workforce

What is happening in Ohio can happen in other states, too.  As Ohio builds new training pathways to grow the local labor pool, other states can pick up their playbook. To learn more about how we're helping create a more skilled workforce, visit the Google Learning page.

1 Source: Burning Glass Data
2 Based on program graduate survey responses, United States 2021

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