BOSTON, July 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- UMass Online launched 34 fully online degree and certificate programs since the beginning of FY20, the latest in the university's continued commitment to world-class online educational offerings. The new programs include a mix of undergraduate and graduate certificates, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and a doctorate within STEM, health care, business and criminal justice. The launch of these new programs comes on the heels of a major partnership announcement between UMass Online and Mass General Brigham, the state's largest private employer, through which UMass Online will develop degree completion programs specifically for MGB employees.
"With unemployment at a record high, the University of Massachusetts is responding by creating access to programs that will contribute to a robust economic recovery," UMass System Chancellor of Academic Programs Katherine Newman said. "Adding fully online degree and certificate programs in areas with projected employment growth will help professionals navigate careers in a shifting workforce."
"Our responsibility to the Commonwealth, higher education and adult learners is to provide pathways to completion that provide learners with confidence and security," said UMass Online CEO Don Kilburn. "As employers focus on filling skills gaps across the country unemployed and working professionals are seeking pathways to secure employment and career advancement."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation, the unemployment rate was 11.1 percent nationally as of July 2, 2020.
The BLS data also highlights a stark disparity in employment resiliency between college-educated and non-college-educated workers that was present before the COVID-19 pandemic which has since been exacerbated. In June of 2020, 16.6 percent of those without a high school diploma were unemployed, along with 12.1 percent of those with a high school diploma. Meanwhile, 6.9 percent of those with a bachelor's degree or higher were unemployed.
In addition to the online degree and certificate programs UMass Online currently offers, its new programs provide more opportunity for those seeking to either upskill within their chosen fields or adapt to new career paths during and beyond the pandemic.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse, there are 36 million Americans with postsecondary education and training who have not completed their program and are no longer enrolled.
UMass Online has recently renewed its focus on providing new and expedited pathways to degree completion opportunities for those with prior college credit.
"Thousands of working adults will benefit from expanded UMass online programming," said Chancellor Newman. "We are committed to ensuring that Massachusetts citizens have access to world-class, affordable and accessible programs that are aligned with the needs of our economy and our business community."
All four UMass undergraduate campuses were rated in the top category of U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges rankings for the fourth consecutive year in 2019, making UMass one of the few university systems in the nation to have each campus so acclaimed. For the fifth straight year, UMass was named to Reuters' list of the World's Most Innovative Universities, ranking 63rd globally and 33rd among U.S. institutions.
Adult learners can earn undergraduate or graduate degrees and certificates either fully online, on-campus or through blended learning options. A complete list of degree and certificate programs can be found at UMass Online. To view the catalog of 4,000 courses available, visit online courses.
About UMass Online: UMass Online, the online learning consortium of the University of Massachusetts, provides marketing and technology support for UMass' online offerings that enable students, professionals, and lifelong learners to take courses anywhere, anytime. With nearly 200 undergraduate and graduate degree, certificate and professional development programs and more than 4,000 courses available from UMass, UMass Online's marketing and technology services support one of the largest accredited online programs available. Programs span the disciplines for which the University is best known: business, liberal arts, education, management, nursing, public health, criminal justice, information technology, and other disciplines.