VSU To Offer Free Courses To Students and Employees To Gain Skills In High-Demand Fields

A Partnership with Coursera will offer marketable credentials to students and employees.

Virginia State University is pleased to announce its partnership with Coursera, a global online learning platform. This partnership will allow VSU students, faculty, and staff to earn industry-branded micro-credentials in high-demand fields, including software engineering, information technology, business, marketing, data science, and analytics from the world’s top companies. VSU students, faculty, and staff will be able to enroll in courses at no cost to them.

"We are very excited about offering Coursera's Career Academy as part of our curriculum and making it accessible to members of the VSU community," said Dr. Tracy Barley, Vice Provost for Digital Learning and Extended Studies. "Our goal is to be the most credentialed institution in the state. It's no secret that the workforce is constantly changing, and this partnership perfectly aligns with our University's commitment to innovative learning, career readiness, and workplace development. This will be a great opportunity for the VSU community to learn new skills recognized by some of the most distinguished companies in the nation."

Students, faculty, and staff will have access to Coursera's Career Academy, which includes 45 high designed by the world’s leading companies, such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Meta, and Salesforce, to prepare students without prior work experience for in-demand entry-level jobs. Anyone who receives an invite to Coursera through the University can enroll in programs to obtain credentials for careers such as Cybersecurity Professional, IT Support Specialist, Data Analyst, Project Manager, and UX Designer, among others.

Students can pursue professional certificates that will complement their academic major or minor. Hands-on projects and interactive assessments allow students to apply their skills in real-world scenarios and practice using workplace tools. Faculty and staff can also earn professional certificates through flexible, online training. Additionally, in the future, VSU hopes to make the online training modules available at a discounted price to alums and family members of current VSU faculty, staff, and students.

According to research by Coursera, 86 percent of college students strongly agree that a professional certificate will help them get a job. The report also found that U.S. employers viewed job candidates with credentials more favorably. Specifically, 92 percent of employers believe micro-credentials help a candidate stand out. In comparison, 85 percent of employers are more likely to hire a graduate who has a degree and a professional certificate.

"We’re excited to partner with Virginia State University, an institution dedicated to educating underrepresented communities since its founding, to prepare thousands of students for in-demand careers," said Kevin Mills, Vice President of Enterprise, Americas at Coursera. "This initiative aims to equip students with the industry-recognized credentials and practical skills they need to compete in a fast-changing job market in their local community or across the country."

Currently, the company boasts 142 million registered learners. VSU is proud to join its more than 325 leading university and industry partners to offer a broad catalog of content and credentials.