UCLA and Start-Up Teach New Skills as Retirement Becomes Elusive
A Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the University of California are combining ready-made software, rented Web services and Apple Inc.'s AAPL +1.16% iPad tablet computer in a high-tech effort to bring career training to baby boomers looking to upgrade their skills.
Empowered Careers last week began enrolling students in 10 certificate programs to be taught by instructors at the UCLA Extension, the continuing-education arm of the University of California, Los Angeles. The programs target areas—such as patient advocacy, health-care management and new media marketing—that are expected to generate job growth.
The effort is part of a recent rush of colleges, start-ups and nonprofits tapping a mix of Web services and software to open online educational ventures. Coursera in April raised $16 million to start Web-based classes for four top schools, including Princeton and Stanford Universities. A month later, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said they had committed a combined $60 million to create edX, a platform for teaching courses online. EdX courses are expected to start in the fall.
The trend is a boon to companies such as 15-year-old Blackboard Inc., which makes software used to organize courses, display test scores and provide transcripts. Four-year-old start-up 2tor Inc., with close to $100 million in funding, works with universities to bring live video classes over the Internet to graduate students. It has joined with four colleges, including the University of North Carolina and the University of Southern California, to deliver master's degree programs online.