HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and Google are teaming up to expand workforce development opportunities in Pennsylvania. 

A new public-private partnership between Google and PASSHE will allow students and members of the public to obtain industry-recognized Google Career Certificates.  

“This could actually be an incredibly important opportunity for them as they finish these short courses. They may be able to launch their careers sooner than other students by working in the fields where they earn these short courses and these certificates,” said Dr. Bashar Hanna, President of Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania, which includes Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield Universities. 

Dr. Hanna calls it a big win for PASSHE students, who won’t see an additional cost for the career certificates. 

“There's no additional cost. This is the partnership that we've forged with Google. It really is adding another set of enhancements while we're keeping costs down for our students,” said Dr. Hanna. 

Students will be able to earn college credit and an industry-recognized certificate, simultaneously.  

“This is incredible. This enables students to earn college credit and an industry recognized credential at the same time. Through the Google Career Certificate program, they can start entry level jobs in their field while continuing as full-time college students,” said Cynthia Shapira, Chairwoman of the PASSHE Board of Governors. 

The opportunity will also be available to working Pennsylvanians and members of the public who are looking to brush up on their skills or learn new ones. 

“We're so excited that this PASSHE-Google partnership will expand higher education opportunities to other working adults as well, who need to re-skill or up-skill. And that's vital to addressing the state's worker shortage in critical fields,” said Shapira. 

The professional certificates include cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing and e-commerce, IT Support, project management and user experience (UX) design. Both students and members of the public will have access to Google's employer consortium upon program completion. 

“This partnership is going to make sure that we are giving more students the opportunity to succeed,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “By incorporating Google Career Certificates into the classroom, PASSHE is putting more tools out there for success into students' hands,” he added. 

Participating universities in the launch phase of the initiative are Commonwealth, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, PennWest, Millersville, Shippensburg and Slippery Rock.