Pluralsight to Provide $20 million in Free Courses to Unemployed Americans

People helping people do business

Pluralsight, headquartered in Farmington, Utah, and a global leader in online learning for technology professionals, recently participated in the inaugural White House Demo Day. The goal was to build on President Obama's recently launched TechHire Initiative — a multi-sector effort to provide citizens with a pathway to well-paying technology jobs.


In support of TechHire Initiative's goal to close the nation's growing IT skills gap, Pluralsight, is donating $20 million worth of IT courses. Pluralsight will offer 50 of their most relevant and critical tech courses and assessments to 21 TechHire communities around the country.


Each of the TechHire communities supporting the White House initiative — New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Kansas City, Portland and Salt Lake City among others — are leaders in the IT sector. Most are also seeking additional workers, with more than 120,000 tech jobs to fill between them.


Pluralsight cofounder and CEO Aaron Skonnard said in a statement to media, "We are incredibly proud to partner with the President and the White House for this landmark initiative to bolster our economy by filling technology jobs with trained, prepared individuals.


"Pluralsight strongly believes in the democratization of education and that all individuals should be able to take ownership of their learning experience. This partnership will help accelerate professional training for the unemployed and get them back into the workforce quicker."


White House Demo Day and the TechHire Initiative were established to highlight the nation's entrepreneurs, help startup hotbeds across the country, and to bring awareness to our nation's increasing skills gap in information technology.


TechHire originally approached Pluralsight as an organization that was a "perfect fit" to help close the IT skills gap. "We were drawn to the program as a way to help the nation, and it aligned perfectly with our mission to �democratize learning,'" Skonnard said in a private interview with GoCertify. 


Pluralsight has more than 400 employees, and currently offers more than 4,500 software and IT courses — and are releasing more than 100 new courses each month. Pluralsight instructors are experts in their respective IT domains who come from all areas of the industry. These subject matter experts are commissioned to produce courses that deliver relevant and timely value to IT professionals. 


Pluralsight selected its 50 free course offerings based on actual job data that shows the types of skills most needed in the today's IT market. IT is a rapidly changing industry and professionals have a never ending need to stay current and improve on their IT skills. "It's well documented that software development and tech skills have a half-life of 2 years," said Skonnard. "That mean's today's skills will only be half as marketable two years from now."


The TechHire Initiative targets the unemployed, veterans and anyone who desires to make themselves more employable by improving their IT skills. The demand for trained IT professionals is booming.  Presently, there are more than 500,000 unfilled IT jobs across all sectors of the economy.


Twelve percent of all job openings are in IT — making it the largest occupational category for open jobs. IT jobs in cybersecurity, network administration, project management, coding, data analytics, and other areas also offer salaries that are more than one-and-a-half times higher than average private-sector jobs.


Computer training class

Typical Pluralsight courses consist of three-to-six hours of video instruction with additional exercises and are designed to be completed in two or three days, depending on a student's time commitment. The convenience factor is high; students can access the courseware across all platforms, although they will need a computer to complete the exercises.


Pluralsight courses are self-paced, with the added benefit of immediate access anywhere at any time. Rather than having to attend a class, participants can study from their homes and work places at their convenience. Although Pluralsight does not offer certifications, their courses do align with vendor certification exams. "If students put in the time and effort, in the end they'll be able to achieve an IT certification," said Skonnard. "Best of all, it will lead to the biggest outcome — getting a job."


Pluralsight will be launching an official page for this program in the coming weeks and working closely with public and private sector partners throughout the 21 TechHire communities to spread the news to potential participants.


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About the Author
Calvin Harper

Calvin Harper is a writer, editor, and publisher who has covered a variety of topics across more than two decades in media. Calvin is a former GoCertify associate editor.