Through a partnership with Google, Houston Community College is offering a new “Grow with Google” technology certificate program for up to 500 students free of charge.

HCC officials have reached out to local public school districts in southwest Houston to share information about the program with administrators, said Joe Fleishman, associate dean of the Digital & Information Technology Center of Excellence, which works with the Workforce and Career department on the program in its Southwest College.

Since the program was announced in February, 150 course spots have been claimed, and those students began in March. However, another 350 are available and are now open to local high school students, continuing education students and working professionals on a first-come, first-served basis. The next course start is set for late April, Fleishman said.

Who it’s for

“These credentials-focused hands-on practical skills are highly valued by employers, even over college degrees in some cases,” Fleishman said. “The person who gets that credential then turns right around to the job bank of 150 employers looking for people with that credential to get a job.”

Fleishman explained when a local internet technology company owner visited the college, he said he prefers to hire community college students over four-year university graduates due to their amount of practical experience in the field, solving problems as part of the curriculum, rather than programs more focused on theoretical knowledge.

“In four months, you're going to get an industry credential that puts you in the workplace, ... gives you a skill to get a job,” Fleishman said. “They can get a credential, they can make money, they can get another credential, they can make more money.”


HCC is able to offer the certificate program for free, thanks to its partnership with the company. However, each course is valued at $300 per course. The four courses give students the opportunity to earn in-demand IT certifications and skills in a short time frame, Fleishman said.

The HCC version of the courses is self-paced, as are the original Google offering, but is accelerated and can be completed in four months rather than six.

They are hosted on the education platform and are as follows:What’s next

The program is available for students 16 and older as part of Houston Community College’s continuing education program.

Once HCC is able to fill the 500 courses, the college will receive 500 more from Google this fall.

The Southwest College, one of six in the system, offers programs at the Galleria, Brays Oaks, Stafford and Missouri City campuses.

For more information, visit the HCC website.