- Udacity, the popular learning platform, is rolling out 'Blitz', a job trial program that works somewhat like an internship or a contract assignment,according to the New York Times. Through Blitz, Udacity matches candidates with employers who indicate they need certain skills, and selected candidates then complete three months of work. Udacity takes a fee of 10-20% of each candidate's earnings during that time.
- Sebastian Thrun, a Udacity co-founder and chairperson, told the Times that the program lets employers "ease their way into hiring without the hurdle of making a commitment upfront." Blitz demonstrates the role that non-traditional learning can have when addressing technology talent shortages. As of 2020, experts predict there will only be 400,000 new computer science college graduates to fill some 1.4 million tech jobs.
- Udacity currently offers 13 nano-degrees that are designed to train individuals to work in entry level jobs ranging from web developers to virtual reality. More than 900 people have graduated and earned jobs from these programs, which take up to 6 months to complete.
It appears that Udacity is taking professional development and open source courses to a whole new level not only by offering on-demand learning and industry nano-degrees, but also job placement support. This is welcome news for employers in the technology industry, where candidate shortages continue to make hiring difficult. Blitz provides hands-on learning opportunities which are often missed with online programs.
This is where candidates have an opportunity to "try on" their new career and enough time to prove they have what it takes to be competent. The most important takeaway from this is that companies can partner with MOOC providers and other online learning platforms to attract the right kinds of candidates through workforce readiness training like this.