(Photo: WOCinTech Chat/Flickr)
California’s community college students can now take courses and work toward certifications that will display on their LinkedIn profile. Several community college districts across the state including Los Angeles, Orange County and West Hills have partnered with the social media platform to provide these opportunities to their students.
The partnership involves access to LinkedIn Learning courses (formerly Lynda.com) allowing students to obtain toward certificates in a variety of areas including software skills, logistics, digital design and publishing and many more areas. It also encourages students to create a LinkedIn profile page to better network for jobs. For LinkedIn, this is a step toward its goal of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
The Los Angeles Community College District obtained 60,000 licenses, which give students access to LinkedIn Learning courses for free, according to Rick Hodge, dean of career technical education (CTE) workforce development at Los Angeles Southwest College. “The goal is to work throughout the Los Angeles Community College District of nine colleges and distribute these licenses to CTE students and, when they get it, they’ll be able to take courses, look at videos and every time they complete a course, it automatically posts to their profile on LinkedIn.”
The District has also been participating in a pilot program to provide trade and logistics programs with LinkedIn and Nexus Edge, a virtual career services platform.
West Hills College – Coalinga is offering online courses through its eCampus, which allows students to work toward third-party certifications in digital media and many other software programs. Started in Spring 2018, the eCampus is available to all students in California including high school students.
“We’re 100 percent online on the eCampus. We don’t see anyone face-to-face, so we had to have something that would be the backbone of our courses and Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) provided it,” said education consultant Sean Glumace who works with West Hills College – Coalinga. “Every one of our students in the district has access to Lynda.com and has the opportunity to take a third-party certification at the end of the course. Lynda.com provides us with the up-to-date content in the courses for these certifications.”
LinkedIn wants to change the perception that the platform is only to post resumes and for job seekers who have extensive experience and advanced college degrees. “That’s not what it is,” said Ryan Zervakos, a LinkedIn relationship manager. “It’s for every single person. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high schooler or you’re in college. You can talk about your volunteer experience. You can talk about your job as a barista. You can create content.”
Beyond the access to online courses, educators see the value in the social media aspect of the partnership. Added Glumace, “It is mandatory in every one of our courses on the e-campus that the students that are over the age of 16 make a LinkedIn account. They also tag it that they’re going to Coalinga or that they’re attending of the high schools. That way, we can track that workforce information later on and that’s a big part of this entire system.”
Hodge said he understands that many community college students think LinkedIn is not for them. “We try to demonstrate to them from students who have done it, the value of it and how it can really help them achieve opportunities for jobs and internships and work-based learning opportunities.”
The next step for Hodge is to create alumni networks for the students. “The alums are all there from each of our colleges and we have access to that. Now we can encourage mentorship and students can reach out to some of those people.” After that, he wants to organize “meet-ups” so networking can occur face-to-face.