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Many people are now moving away from college degrees and focusing on trade schools or hands-on apprenticeships, which for some makes college degrees obsolete. In fact, companies like Starbucks, Publix, Apple, Google and Bank of America have published numerous job applications no longer requiring a college education.

With associations and other membership organizations already contributing to continuing education credits and certifications, it begs the question: Could these organizations become the next hub for learning a specific trade or skill in their industry?

That’s exactly what Google is trying to do.

Google has implemented a new suite of Google Career Certificates as a way “to help Americans get back to work, break down educational barriers by prioritizing skills, and support the country’s economic recovery,” tweeted Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker.

Grow.Google, with its variety of topics, has become a hub of professional learning that threatens, if not negates, the need for higher education for some of its employees. Not only does it offer competitive educational opportunities, it does so at affordable rates. 

To highlight the value in their course, Walker also shared that “in our own hiring, we will now treat these new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles.”

Google has done a tremendous job of stepping up to the plate and becoming its own producer and consumer of educated professionals.

So, how do you implement this?

As organizations that already prioritize the certification process, associations have a unique ability to easily jump from continuing education to creating and sharing their own. Associations can be the beginning and end for industry professionals looking to create successful careers.

A four-year college degree could reasonably be replaced by a six month course led by industry experts. Instead of spending time and money on broad concepts and classes that may not be applicable to a specific career, professionals could go straight to their industry of choice and learn hands-on what they need to be successful. 

Membership organizations already know the ins and outs of their industries, so who better to train the future of them? While the switch will not happen overnight, organizations can begin to move towards valuing certifications as highly as degrees and offer specialized education for their members. 

Not only will offering educational certifications put your organization in the spotlight, but it will help to guarantee the future of your industry. Take the time today to check out what Google has done, and see if your organization can experiment with the same.

Ashley Neal
Post by Ashley Neal
December 15, 2020
Ashley is a marketing and communications professional with expertise in sales conversion, copywriting, and social media.