DALLAS and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A new kind of online training program designed by businesses will prepare thousands of workers and job-seekers for high-demand jobs in the tech industry.
Carving out a fresh new category of on-line degrees, AT&T and Udacity will launch the first nanodegree program this fall in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format. The first courses will focus on entry-level software skills. Udacity will manage the program with personalized coaching and career services. AT&T will provide direction on course content.
AT&T and Udacity will support diverse access through scholarships. AT&T will offer up to 100 paid internships for nanodegree graduates.
Students will be certified for the skills they learn through this new educational pathway. The nanodegree will be fully recognized for entry-level software jobs at AT&T. Udacity and AT&T are encouraging other businesses to recognize the first nanodegrees. New nanodegrees from additional companies are being developed over the coming months.
The nanodegrees will be:
- Efficient – Designed for completion in less than 12 months.
- Accessible – Anywhere there's a broadband connection.
- Affordable – At a cost of approximately $200 per month.
AT&T's investment in nanodegree is part of AT&T Aspire, the company's commitment to prepare students for success in school and the 21st century workforce.
The global economy is expected to have a shortfall of 85 million skilled jobs by 2020, much of it in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
"The nanodegree creates a new and innovative way to obtain industry-relevant skills," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. "This will widen the pipeline of STEM-trained talent. It will also help our employees build skills in these areas."
Last year, AT&T teamed up with Georgia Tech and Udacity to launch the Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS), the first accredited Master of Science in Computer Science earned exclusively through the MOOC format. Though nanodegree is not affiliated with a university, both programs make education more accessible and affordable through MOOC-based learning.
"Learning does not stop at schools and universities. It's a lifelong process where individuals must constantly learn and relearn technical skills," said Sebastian Thrun, founder and CEO of Udacity. "We are creating the nanodegree to give lifelong learners access to affordable credentials that will be recognized by employers as they move forward in their professional careers."
The first courses will focus on design of Website user interfaces and iOS applications -- fundamental software development skills needed in industry. The training is consistent with AT&T's transition to a software and fully mobile-centric business.
AT&T and Udacity view the nanodegree as an option for diverse student populations as well. These include women, minorities, recent high school graduates, veterans and the long-term unemployed and under-employed.
"AT&T developed nanodegree with Udacity because of its great potential to help our employees build skills in critical software disciplines – and to also widen the pipeline of trained applicants," said Bill Blase, Senior Executive Vice President/Human Resources, AT&T. "We will provide up to 100 internships and are working with our nonprofit partners to offer scholarships to qualified candidates."
"The nanodegree will help ensure that American workers possess the skills that are required by employers. Left unaddressed, we risk a shortfall of 85 million skilled jobs in 2020. That's simply unacceptable. Programs like this are key to making America as competitive as possible," said John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. corporations.
"Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy. But America faces a shortage of qualified STEM workers," said Linda Moore, president and CEO of TechNet, a Washington-based bipartisan policy and political network of innovation economy CEOs and senior executives. "AT&T and Udacity are working to change that with the nanodegree."
Udacity's mission is to bring accessible, affordable, engaging and highly effective learning to the world. The company, headquartered in Silicon Valley, works with industry leaders including AT&T, Google, Facebook, Salesforce.com and Cloudera to build technology classes that are designed to advance lifelong learning. For more information, go to www.Udacity.com.
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About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T's signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism and mentoring.
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