ILLINOIS (WFIE) - Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday the launch of free online career training geared toward helping Illinois residents who have lost their jobs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through a partnership with online learning platform Coursera, people can enroll in free virtual courses to provide training and credentialing that will help ready dislocated workers for jobs in information technology (IT) and other marketable fields.
“With our state and our nation facing record unemployment as a result of COVID-19, it is imperative that we broaden access to affordable and high quality education that will help return out of work Illinoisans to the workplace as quickly as possible,” Gov. Pritzker said. “Thanks to this new partnership with Coursera, we will support thousands of Illinois workers who have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the ongoing pandemic by helping them build the skills to attain jobs in the post-COVID-19 economy.”
The Governor’s Office released this information through the following press release:
Job seekers across Illinois will have access to high-quality online workforce development and IT courses offered by accredited institutions. The initiative makes certifications available for job seekers of all levels – including the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, designed specifically to train people without college experience for high demand IT jobs. Instructors from Illinois’ own higher education institutions – including Northwestern University and the University of Illinois – are supporting expanded Coursera virtual training for displaced workers.
Registration for the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative will be made available to Illinois residents from now through September, and all courses must be completed by December 31, 2020. Upon completion of the program, participants may earn an industry-recognized credential as well as information about continuing building upon their new skills through continued education at their local community college.
Expanding access to education and training opportunities has been a critical component of the state’s response to unemployment from day one of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to Coursera, the State of Illinois is partnering with P33 and Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) to bring forward another tech-focused training program – TechReady Illinois. To help unemployed as well as furloughed and underutilized Illinoisans compete for jobs of the future – TechReady Illinois will provide training courses for high-demand fields of computer science, data and engineering programs.
Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a certiﬁcate in one of four fields: data and analytics; cloud computing; cybersecurity; or software development. DPI and partner organizations are working to ensure courses can be priced at steep discounts. Over the coming weeks, the teams at P33 and DPI will continue to work with Illinois employees.