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June 14, 2023

Hundreds of Missourians grow careers for free through partnership

The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) continues to partner with Coursera to help Missourians gain skills that will improve their job performance and grow their career for free.

More than 500 Missourians have completed over 2,200 courses through the partnership, which began in July 2020 as part of the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative to help displaced workers get back to work.

The partnership expanded in October 2021 to offer all Missourians access to free Coursera courses. 

Coursera sources online classes from universities and businesses nationwide, and provides certifications in software engineering, IT, sales, marketing, business, data science, and data analytics.

MDHEWD has used this partnership to offer Missouri Job Ready Day 1, a workshop for developing cutting-edge skills in interviewing, problem solving, teamwork, professionalism, and more. Those who complete the course receive a Missouri industry-recognized credential that shows they are ready for a new job on day one.

Coursera is no stranger to Missouri companies and organizations. Paramount Apparel International (PAi), a 100-year-old business based in Bourbon, encourages its employees to enroll in Coursera courses for continued career growth.

“Nothing is more important to Paramount Apparel than investing in our team members’ training and development,” PAi Human Resources Director Kelly Long said. “Coursera has been a fantastic partner to help us increase our training due to the variety, availability, and ease of the courses. Coursera has had a major impact on our culture.”

PAi Vice President of Global Brand Solutions Kevin Francart said he completed a time management course called “Work Smarter, Not Harder,” and instantly noticed an uptick in his productivity.

“I have since rolled out this logic with my team, and it is great to see the level of stress go down with them,” he said. “Coursera has definitely helped my team and I feel accomplished at the end of the work day.”

There are thousands of courses available on Coursera to develop various skills from advertising to virtual reality.

“I've taken Excel courses to better analyze data and leadership courses to help improve as a member of management,” said Nicole King, PAi operations support manager. “I am using it to work on a personal goal of being more fluent in Spanish. I really enjoy the classes with the way they are structured and how I can work on everything on my own schedule.”

WeCode KC, a nonprofit that offers technology courses to Kansas City youth ages 7-17, has teamed up with MDHEWD to provide individuals access to Coursera for free to its first-ever adult-focused cohort.

“Take some courses, advance your learning, skill up so that you have a viable resume that, sans college, you're still making a really good living,” said Nicole Urban, WeCode KC Operations Director.

WeCode KC has also helped adults enroll in IT and web development Coursera courses.

Urban noted that an IT Support certification led to numerous job offers for a WeCode KC volunteer and helped a parent of a WeCode KC student earn a higher-ranking position in accounting.

Urban earned certification in project management through Coursera and said it “really opened up my eyes to what I was capable of.”

WeCode KC Program Director Ben Richardson said he is using Coursera to keep up to date on technology.

“It’s just an easy self-paced way to go about learning,” he said. “I definitely advise it for anybody that's interested in tech or just laying the foundation and then getting a foot in the door somewhere.”

To learn more and to apply for free Coursera courses, visit jobs.mo.gov/coursera.