Google Launches New Certificates Built for Hiring

Google Cloud just rolled out certificates in cyber and data built for the AI age–and designed to fast-track hiring at major employers like the U.S. Treasury.

Google Cloud last week launched a new set of certificates and courses built for the world of generative AI—and for the first time including custom, hands-on labs built alongside employers.

The labs feature on-the-job scenarios and are specifically designed to help learners move more quickly through the first stage of the job interview process. Employers like the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Rackspace, and Jack Henry helped develop the labs and have signed on to hire completers.

The big idea: Google’s goal—from the beginning of its foray into education and training—has been to both expand and diversify the pool of candidates for tech jobs. It’s steadily grown the pool of employers in its hiring consortium, but even so learners in its certificate programs are largely expected to find jobs on the open market.

The new labs, which will serve as a first step in the interview process, tighten the connection to select employers.

“You can grow technician workforces in places you don’t necessarily expect them to be,” says M.K. Palmore, director in the Office of the CISO at Google Cloud. “It’s exposing these kinds of opportunities to a wider group.”

The details: The new certificates were built by Google Cloud and are focused on cybersecurity and data analytics, with an overlay of how AI integrates with those fields. The company also is offering new standalone AI courses.

All of it will be free for educational institutions, government workforce programs, and nonprofits to use.

The cloud programs complement the career certificates and more general labs the company already offers through Grow with Google. About 250K learners in the United States have completed one of those programs.

The coursework in the new certificates will be eligible for credit through Purdue Global, which has also embedded many of Google’s existing certificates in its own degree programs. The vast majority of the 4.2K undergraduates in the university’s tech programs have earned one of the certificates or at least taken some of the coursework.

“When we’re looking at individuals, if we can recognize learning that has been assessed and evaluated, our bias is to try to figure out how we can use it in your program of study,” says Frank Dooley, chancellor of Purdue Global.

A big employer: Treasury joined up for the work because it needs to both widen its candidate pool and compete more effectively with the private sector for cyber workers, says Todd Conklin, chief AI officer and deputy assistant secretary of cyber at the Treasury.

“We’re looking to recruit outside the typical D.C. pool. It’s people who aren’t even thinking about government as an option,” he says. “Seeing the Google brand with Treasury might make people look at us a bit differently.”

The agency will be able to fast-track any potential hires coming out of the program because of a special hiring authority granted to increase the federal government’s use of AI. Otherwise, the government hiring process requires many months of public advertising before it can even get started. “Now, we can start with just a resume and enter someone into the process,” Conklin says.

More broadly, the agency’s work with Google makes good on a number of directives in the President’s executive order on AI and builds on policy work on the cyber workforce that the Treasury has been engaged in for years.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to flex the work we do in that space in this tactical of a way,” Conklin says.

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