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Free LinkedIn Learning Access Connects Orange County Students and Faculty to Career-Readiness Feature Story

October 01, 2020

With over 16,000 on-demand video tutorials on topics ranging from professional development to Microsoft Office skills to learning the Python programming language, LinkedIn Learning (LiL) continues to build a strong reputation for offering high-quality, supplemental education to today’s evolving workforce. Now, Orange County’s community college faculty and students can take advantage of this exceptional resource for free.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students and faculty to get connected with LinkedIn and all it has to offer,” says  Laurie Eberhart, Director, OC Regional Work-Based Learning & Job Placement Grant. “Students can prepare for upcoming career and employment opportunities while faculty can quickly and easily enhance the coursework using custom learning paths and other features.”

Funded by a regional Strong Workforce Program grant and managed by the North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) and North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE), the Orange County Regional Work-Based Learning and Job Placement Project is a focused effort to develop and implement a sustainable, regional approach to career services, work-based learning, internships, job placement, and employment engagement for students, employers, colleges/schools, and community partners.

As part of this grant, 74,000 licenses were acquired to give students and faculty free access to LinkedIn Learning’s impressive catalog of expert-led courses. To make access as easy as possible, sign up pages for faculty and staff have been created at https://futurebuilt.org/linkedin-learning/. Students and faculty are encouraged to sign up now before licenses run out.

Taught by industry leaders and expert instructors, LinkedIn Learning’s courses are divided into three broad categories: Business, Creative, and Technology. Within these categories, over 16,000 courses cover a wide range of topics that include technical skills, soft skills, digital tools, software applications, and more.

“In our smartphone-first world, LinkedIn Learning’s mobile app only makes it more attractive to students and staff alike,” says Eberhart. “Additionally, with LinkedIn Learning videos being broken into small chunks, students and staff can easily find and consume what learning applies to them most.”

For students, the platform provides additional learning opportunities outside of the classroom that include career exploration and development as well as preparation for employment. Students can also connect their LinkedIn Learning account to their LinkedIn profiles to highlight any certifications and newly acquired skills.

Once signed up, students can customize their experience by setting learning goals and entering the skills they are interested in and following LinkedIn Learning’s recommended courses. Students can also use curated pathways to develop career or topic-specific knowledge, or simply browse based on keywords and interests. 

“LinkedIn Learning helps level the playing field for all students,” says Eberhart. “It also provides a bridge to what students are learning in school to what they’ll do in their work after graduation. And we all know that empowering students to begin building their network of employers is key to finding employment in the future.”

In addition to the convenience of being able to view courses anywhere and at any time, many completed courses lead to certificates of completion that can be tracked and added to students’ LinkedIn accounts, helping them to build their resumes and develop a professional presence on the world’s largest professional social network.

“LinkedIn Learning is great because it makes me feel really accomplished in the efforts that I’m putting towards my education,” says Cheyenne Mann, a Fullerton College student and professional expert in Fullerton’s life planning center. “Having those certifications posted on my profile, on my resume, makes it especially useful as a young professional looking for work. And just for myself, I feel really good that I’m learning and taking the time to better myself and skills as I prepare for my future career.” 

As a professional expert in Fullerton College’s Career and Life Planning Center, Mann is part of a team that has been using LinkedIn Learning to make sure students are career-ready using the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) authorized list of core competencies.

“Based on NACE’s core competencies for career-readiness, we’ve used LinkedIn Learning to create pathways based on those key skills,” says Mann. “So we have pathways developed around skills that all students need like critical thinking, leadership, collaboration. LinkedIn Learning gives us an easy way to make sure students have all the skills they need to succeed as they start their first internship or start interviewing for jobs or whatever their next career step is.”

Students are not the only ones benefitting from free access to LinkedIn Learning’s catalog of courses. Orange County community college faculty are also able to use the platform to supplement their course curriculum and advance their own professional growth. Given the rapid transition to online learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, LinkedIn Learning has become an important resource as faculty scramble to expand online curriculum options and resources.

“What I love about LinkedIn Learning is just the wide variety of tutorials that are available and the fact that they’re constantly adding new courses with the newest practices,” says Saddleback College Computer Information Management professor Alan Foote, who has been using LinkedIn Learning since it was Lynda.com. “You’re not going to find a subject that doesn’t have some sort of class or tutorial associated with it. It just covers everything.”

Being in the computer field, Foote is acutely aware of how quickly software, technology, and related best practices change.

“I was teaching a Python course and I wanted to get into some advanced concepts that had not worked with before in the class,” says Foote. “I just simply went to LinkedIn Learning and found a series of tutorials on it that my students could use to quickly get up to speed.”

With an average of 50+ new courses being added every week, the LinkedIn Learning catalog is constantly updating itself to keep pace of industry changes and trends.

“Being in a technology field, the industry is changing and new technologies are coming out all the time,” says Foote. “Being able to go to one source like LinkedIn Learning and get the latest and greatest information is just incredible. What a valuable resource for us faculty and our students.”

In addition to providing extremely up-to-date resources, LinkedIn Learning is also extremely easy-to-use for both faculty and students. It is this convenience that Santa Ana College Digital Media Arts professor and Guided Pathways coordinator Stephanie Clark especially appreciates.

“Not only is it super easy to use the LinkedIn Learning Canvas module and embed videos right into my classes, but I can also create learning pathways of my own course lists and groups so that I can keep track of which students have access in which classes,” explains Clark who has been using the platform for over 10 years.

Clark also loves that it integrates with LinkedIn because of the professional benefits this provides to students.

“LinkedIn is a great professional resource especially for students looking to land their first jobs and start new careers,” says Clark. “I have my students set up and connect their own LinkedIn profiles so that it builds their resume as they learn new skills and complete class assignments. I think that’s a really good feeling for new students, to see their progress themselves and sort of advertise it to the world.”

In addition to offering free access to Linkedin Learning, the Orange County Regional Work-Based Learning and Job Placement Project is hard at work at several more initiatives that seek to improve and support students’ ability to transition into the workforce. Two of them are:

  • Portfolium Partnership: The Portfolium project is a collaborative effort among all nine Orange County community colleges and NOCE to meet the needs of job seekers, employers and the region. Students will have free access to the platform which allows students to develop ePortfolios they can use to showcase class projects and work to employers.
  • Fall 2020 Virtual Career Readiness Series: This is an online series of guest speakers and industry sector panels focused on careers, networking, and interviewing techniques, to assist OC community college students in their quest for jobs and internships.  Upcoming seminars include:
    • 10/02 – Powerful Body Language and Non-Verbal Cues to Help You Stand Out in an Interview
    • 10/09 – The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn with Ease: Communicate Your Value in an Interview
    • 10/16 – Networking for Introverts
    • 10/23 – Your Accomplishments: Telling Your Power Story
    • 10/30 – The Three People You Need to Meet in your Career
    • 11/06 – Industry Panel TBD
    • 11/13 – Industry Panel TBD
    • 11/20 – Portfolio 101: Transfer Classroom Skills to Job Skills
    • 12/04 – The Art of Building Your Professional Brand on LinkedIn

To sign up for a FREE Linkedin Learning account, Orange County community college students and faculty are encouraged to visit https://futurebuilt.org/linkedin-learning/. For more information about any of these offerings, please contact Laurie Eberhart, Director, OC Regional Work-Based Learning & Job Placement Grant, at leberhart@NOCE.EDU.