March 27, 2020
Online learning platform Udacity is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free tech training to workers who have been laid off, furloughed, or are sheltering in place, due to the crisis.
On March 26, the Mountain View, California-based company announced on its blog that it will offer its courses—known as nanodegrees—free for one month. The average price for an individual signing up for a nanodegree is about $400 a month, and the degrees take anywhere from four to six months to complete, according to the company.
Gabe Dalporto, CEO of Udacity, told CNBC that over the past few weeks, as he and his senior leadership team heard projections of skyrocketing unemployment numbers as a result of COVID-19, he felt the need to act. “I think those reports were a giant wake-up call for everybody,” he says. “This [virus] will create disruption across the board and in many industries, and we wanted to do our part to help.”
Dalporto says Udacity is funding the scholarships completely and that displaced workers can apply for them at udacity.com/pledge-to-americas-workers .
Udacity will take the first 50 eligible applicants from each company that applies, and within 48 hours individuals should be able to begin the coursework. Dalporto says the offer will be good for the first 20 companies that apply and that “after that we’ll evaluate and figure out how many more scholarships we are going to fund.
The hope is that while individuals wait to go back to work, or in the event that the layoff is permanent, they can get training in fields that are driving so much of today’s digital transformation. Udacity’s courses include artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital marketing, product management, data analysis, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, among others.
The company also announced this week that any individual, regardless of whether they’ve been laid off, can enroll for free in any one of Udacity’s 40 different nanodegree programs. Users will get the first month free when they enroll in a monthly subscription, but Dalporto pointed out that many students can complete a course in a month if they dedicate enough time to it.
Dalporto says. “The great irony in the world right now is that at the same time that a lot of people are going to lose their jobs, there are areas in corporations where managers just can’t hire enough people for jobs in data analytics, cloud computing and AI.”
Research contact: @CNBC