edX, a nonprofit online learning platform founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, is partnering with Microsoft and GE to provide Massachusetts residents with online programs and courses that lead directly to employment opportunities. This opportunity could be a game changer for many residents.
The partnership arose out of a mutual desire to find a way to improve efforts to address the diverse and changing needs of employers as well as students in the state, according to Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX.
“With online learning options, we, along with companies aiming to upskill the next wave of talent, are able to capitalize on digital innovation and present an affordable education for everyone, including non-traditional learners and the younger generations,” said Agarwal. “We came together with GE and Microsoft to commit to providing Massachusetts residents with innovative pathways from online learning to career success.”
Residents in the state are taking advantage of this opportunity presented by GE and Microsoft, according to Agarwal. He is confident that the partners will be “seeing the results of this groundbreaking new partnership in action” this year.
GE’s commitment to the partnership stems from the company’s desire to invest in furthering employment opportunities in Massachusetts, its new home state, Agarwal said. GE had moved its headquarters from a suburb in Connecticut to Boston in the summer of 2016.
GE has committed to interviewing any Massachusetts resident who completes an edX MicroMasters program in supply chain management, cybersecurity, cloud computing or artificial intelligence, which are increasingly sought after positions in this digital economy.
The company will also offer residents an opportunity to pursue a full-time career with GE or internships at the company’s Boston headquarters, which is of course a very attractive incentive.
In addition, GE will also provide 100 Massachusetts residents with a certificate in any online course offered on edX.org.
“The commitment made by GE is especially exciting due to learners being guaranteed interviews for job opportunities at a leading tech company following completion of four select MicroMasters programs in 2018,” said Agarwal.
Microsoft is offering 500 coupons in 2018 for free edX certificates for any Microsoft course offered on edX.org for Massachusetts residents.
Residents may also be able to earn college credit from the North Shore Community College (NSCC) for completing the Microsoft Professional Certificate in Introduction to Computer Science on edX. Microsoft is working with both edX and NSCC to explore that possibility, Agarwal said.
The company has also committed to contribute toward the cost for any community college student in Massachusetts to complete the entry level Computer Science Professional Certificate on edX.
In addition, for a six-month period starting on May 1 this year, Massachusetts community college students who complete the first two courses in the program will get a free certificate for the third and final course.
edX Hopes For More
“We are pleased to partner with GE and Microsoft in our home state to provide access to high-quality educations that transforms lives and advances careers,” said Agarwal. “Through access to educational content in the most in-demand fields, we are empowering Massachusetts residents to get the knowledge and skills they need to fast-track their careers and to gain high-level employment opportunities.”
While edX’s partnership with GE and Microsoft is limited to Massachusetts, edX hopes that the partnership’s “success and popularity will inspire similar partnerships and commitments in other states and reduce the skills shortage in high-growth industries,” he said.
After all, edX’s overarching goal to bring these types of educational and career advancing opportunities to all learners of every background, according to Agarwal.
Lauren Flum is from Oxford, Ohio and is currently a junior studying journalism, environmental sustainability and film at Ohio University. She is the Editor in Chief for Speakeasy Magazine, an online student-run publication. Lauren covers a variety of topics including News, Culture, Music, Lifestyle, and Sustainability. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, cooking and painting.