Dept. of Labor partners with Coursera to provide 5,000 unemployed workers with free courses

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 9:00am

    AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Labor has announced the State has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, in its Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative.

    This initiative is designed to support governments worldwide in providing unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses, according to a news release. 

    The goal of this partnership is to help laid off workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed more quickly.

    Up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers can sign up to take classes through the Coursera platform. Registration must occur by Sept. 30. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses.

    The 3,800 courses on Coursera are taught by the world’s leading university and industry educators, covering critical business, technology, and data science skills.

    The initiative also includes Professional Certificates, like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, designed specifically to train people for high-demand jobs.

    For example, learning project management principles could help jobseekers connect to the 421 Maine JobLink postings identifying this as a skill. There are currently 82 IT jobs posted looking for training in Python, 1,086 jobs asking for strong writing skills, 3,354 jobs expecting that applicants are skilled with Excel, 303 jobs asking for experience/training related to nutrition, and 746 jobs that ask for training with electronics — all courses found on Coursera.

    “The Department of Labor is committed to helping out-of-work Mainers maintain and enhance their skills during this pandemic,” Commissioner Laura Fortman said. “With work search requirements being reinstated this week, this new partnership with Coursera to provide job-relevant online learning is timely.”

    Individuals who are permanently separated from their employer must engage in work search activities beginning Aug. 9 in order to continue receiving unemployment benefits.

    In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department has expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual’s marketability during these challenging economic times. These classes through Coursera would count as work search activities.

    Unemployed individuals interested in signing up to take classes through Coursera should make sure that they are registered on the Maine JobLink (MJL) and that their account is active and contact information up-to-date:

    Individuals with an active account in MJL will receive an invitation from their local CareerCenter to join the Coursera platform.

    Individuals interested in Coursera classes can also contact one of the Maine CareerCenters to sign up. Contact information and an online chat option can be found at