As new technologies change the way people work and the way businesses operate, workers may find themselves without the skills they need to succeed. Closing that skills gap in part requires corporations and academia to work together. In the latest example of that kind of collaboration, Salesforce is partnering with Southern New Hampshire University to offer college credit for the completion of courses on its online learning platform, Trailhead.
Specifically, SNHU students can earn credit for completing admin and developer "badges" on the gamified learning platform. Admin and developer skills, Salesforce says, lead to the top jobs in the so-called "Salesforce economy," which includes the 3.3 million jobs that the CRM giant and its ecosystem of partners and customers are expected to create by 2022.
The goal of the partnership is "putting students at the center of a new kind of learning experience - one focused on real-world outcomes, not just Graduation," Salesforce EVP Sarah Franklin, said in a blog post.
Any SNHU student can have their Trailhead badges evaluated for credit towards one of more than 100 undergraduate degree programs, SNHU says. Completing a certain number of training modules will count as a 3-credit Experiential Learning course at the unversity, and the credit can be applied as a major elective for applicable IT-related programs or as a free elective.
Salesforce launched Trailhead in 2014, and since then, more than 1.5 million people have used the free online learning platform. Meanwhile, Salesforce says hundreds of people have benefited from its new career resources hub. Called Trailblazer Connect, people can use the hub to find information about career fairs and to connect with mentors, among other things.
Other major tech companies are also doing their part to help close the skills gap. IBM, for instance, recently worked with the Open Group, a certification consortium, to launch a data scientist certification. IBM also created an internal data science apprenticeship program for candidates who may not have a college degree.