State agency offering unemployed free access to more than 4,000 leading online courses

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Congress still has not struck a deal on a federal unemployment supplement, but the state’s top employment agency is doing its best to offer help to those unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, the state Department of Employment and Workforce announced it has partnered with a leading online learning platform to offer more than 4,000 professional courses at no cost to unemployment insurance claimants.

The agency and Coursera launched the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative in South Carolina for worker retraining and reskilling for those displaced from a job as a result of the pandemic.

According to a news release, the courses and certifications available on the platform are all designed by the world’s leading university and industry educators and cover numerous skillsets including business, technology, data science, health, social sciences and arts/humanities. Some of the courses include professional certificates, such as the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, designed specifically to train people to return to work in high-demand jobs in the information technology industry.

Annual user access to Coursera’s online platform is generally $399.

“This is an incredible opportunity for hard-working South Carolinians who are still facing employment challenges in the wake of COVID-19,” said Michelle Paczynski, assistant executive director at the state Department of Employment and Workforce. “Not only can someone take advantage of these courses to professionally propel them forward, we are pleased to be able to partner with Coursera, so the financial burden doesn’t fall on the shoulders of the claimant.”

As of mid-September, nearly 4,000 South Carolinians had registered to receive access to the platform.

Deadlines do exist, however. Claimants must register with Coursera by Oct. 31 for coursework. There is no limit to the number of courses an individual can take in the offering, but courses must be completed by Dec. 31, 2020, according to the release.

Top classes that state claimants initially enrolled in included Excel Skills for Business, Technical Support Fundamentals (Information Technology), Financial Accounting, Introduction to Web Development and Programming for Everybody, among several others.

The agency added that classes are offered in several languages and are accessible via smartphones and tablets.


S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce:

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