The 2023 Upskill SB cohort is officially open for summer and fall cohort! Check our facebook page for updates.
Have you recently graduated from high school or college?
Are looking to change jobs?
Need a leg-up in your field?
We need qualified and credentialed workers. Upskill SB can provide a pathway to achieve a professional certification at minimal or no cost to you.
Upskill SB offers professional, industry-standard certifications in:
- Information technology
- Business and management
We also help you create a customized training plan to help you prepare to take the next step in your career.
If you are an employer interested in upskilling your workforce, fill out this form.
Fill out the application listed on the website
A short phone interview to help assess your educational/professional background and career interest
Select an area of interest, and we will recommend an appropriate certification and training option
Depending on the difficulty and your prior knowledge, you will go through between a weeks or months-long training or review course
Upskill SB will reimburse your exam and some of your training costs. Take the exam, and get certified if you pass Upskill SB will reimburse your exam and some of your training costs. Take the exam and get certified in a new field!
Certification cost coverage
Upskill SB will purchase the certification exam and training on your behalf, and will bill you a small portion of the training cost. Here is how much you will have to pay out-of-pocket:
- $0 for the Certification Exam
- $50 for training ($25 with financial aid)
- 50% of training costs over $200 (reduced with financial aid)
If you are in need of additional financial assistance to reimburse some of all of the remaining training costs, please indicate on your application or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may apply for Upskill SB if you:
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
- Currently live or work in South Bend
- Employed or actively seeking employment
You may also apply for Google Cloud Boost | Upskill and Upskill Climate if you are:
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
- A resident of St. Joseph County, Indiana
We evaluate and accept learners on a first-come first-serve basis. We are prioritizing candidates who:
- Respond to emails in a timely manner
- Have had some experience in continuing education courses
- Have enough time set aside for certification training
- Proactive in researching and showing interest in relevant certifications
The application cycle is now rolling. However, apply by the following dates to be considered in the spring, summer, or fall cohort:
- Dec 11, 2022: Spring Cohort (Jan-Apr)
- Apr 3, 2023: Summer Cohort (May-Jul)
- TBA: Fall Cohort (Aug-Nov)
The Spring and Fall cohorts are four months long and align with Ivy Tech and IUSB academic calendars, allowing you the opportunity to take continuing education courses through them.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)
What if I am in the process of completing a certification?
We cannot reimburse any training that has been done or if you purchased an exam prior to joining the program. We would encourage you to find another certification or credential to choose from.
When will the application close, and when will I hear back?
Applications are open year-round are processed on a rolling basis for three cohorts in 2023. Dec 11, 2022 is the deadline to join the Spring 2023 cohort. You will hear back from us at most five business days after submitting your application, or we will send you a message if the application has closed by then.
What if I am unsure about which certification I want to take?
The phone screening process can help narrow down your choices, and you may request the advice of a career counsellor if you have not made a decision on what certification to take.
Can I get two or more certifications reimbursed?
Yes, Upskill SB can support more than one certifications so long as they are completed within four months. If the certifications requires two or more exams in order to pass, Upskill SB can reimburse both.
Can I renew my certification through Upskill SB?
We would encourage candidates to seek certifications of which they have not yet earned. Renewing a certification does not disqualify a candidate, but we would consider additional applications.
Credentials and Training
What is the difference between certificate, certification, and other types of credentials?
Certificate: A result of an educational process for newcomers and experienced professionals that is set through an academic process.
Certification: An industry-standard process for workers with at least some experience to indicate mastery. Some certifications do not require or have courses.
License: A government-run process in order to practice a profession.
Badge: An educational process for newcomers usually after completing a single module for a certificate. The timeframe for completing a badge is much shorter compared to the other credentials. Badges are a type of microcredential.
All these types of credentials are very useful for resume-building. Sometimes, credentials can be taken simultaneously, e.g. someone can go through training and earn a certificate, and, later, earn a certification by taking an exam based on the training.
What are the different levels of certifications?
Each certification is on a hierarchy based on previous skill usually comprising of three/four tiers:
Foundational: No prior experience within this area. It is useful for employees looking to pivot or to have knowledge in an adjacent field.
Associate: Some experience within this area (6-12 months) and for someone who needs to commit to this kind of career.
Professional: Once someone earns an associate certification, this is a gold standard for practitioners in the career area. They usually have a handful of years of experience. Certified professionals undergo annual renewal.
Expert: High-level certification given to experts with many years of industry experience requiring hundreds of contact hours.
Why should I obtain a certification?
Certifications are issued by accredited prominent industry organizations or by professional certifications that will be accepted by most employers in a given field. Most employers like to a hire a certified worker over a non-certified worker because they know a certified worker has proof of the requisite knowledge in a knowledge field. For example, a PMP can make $20,000 more than a non-PMP holding Project Manager on average (Project Management Institute).
What if I need access to computer or software?
You will have the option of letting us know your technical needs on the application form under the Program Resources section. If you are taking a certification exam or working through a certificate course, a working computer with a mic and webcam is necessary, and resources Upskill SB can provide. If you are taking a technical course with software or hardware needs, double check with the certification’s website, and we can reimburse software needs e.g. AWS cloud subscription.
Upskill SB will not provide technology for SJC residents who are taking Google Cloud certifications.
Upskill SB can provide study and exam-taking space in the Technology Resource Center.
There are a lot of training options. Which one should I take?
Here is an article about how to train for a certification in general.
If you are earning a certificate, there should already be a self-learning, virtual or in-person class that you will be required tot take in order to earn that credential.
You can typically pick and choose study/training resources for certifications:
- Instructor-led training: A structured classroom setting in a remote setting or at a classroom. Upskill SB will not provide classes, but will find an in-person or remote setting that works best for you.
- There are many types of instructor-led training such as a college classroom, guided online learning, or training centers ranging from a few hours of practice per week to 3 to 5 days of intensive practice.
- Self-study training: Not everyone needs live training. You may prefer going at your own pace or is self-motivated. Sometimes this fits well if you have busy schedules.
- eLearning: an online self-paced course
- Exam Prep: Right before an exam, take a practice exam to identify strengths and weaknesses to better prepare for the real exam.
- Books: There are certified books or ebooks you can learn from!
CompTIA also has a quiz to assess what type of learner you are!
How can I fit certification study and training into my schedule?
Assess how many hours a week you can dedicate to studying/ training for cert exams. Multiply that number by 16, and you will get how many total hours you will spend total on studying/training. Each certification will have the estimated number of hours of completing the course, which you can compare with your total hours.
Make sure you are able to clear your schedule on certain evenings or weekends for instruction if you are doing instructor-led training, and that you can complete it within four months. Sometimes you will need to accommodate a few hours between courses for homework or lab work in addition to commute times if you are going to an in-person site.
If you are unable to train during evenings or weekends at a consistent time, self-study resources such as self-paced online courses can a more flexible option.
Studying for a certification or any other credential while employed is no easy task. In the end, passing that exam will lead to better career opportunities or raises at work.
Does Upskill SB cover gradute study costs?
No, Upskill SB covers expenses for certifications, related training, and micro-credentials.This program does not cover graduate study expenses.
What if certification exam and training costs are combined?
If there is no exam cost explicitly laid out, Upskill SB will reimburse the first $600 and 50% of the remaining cost.
When will I have to complete a certification?
Once you have been accepted to the program assuming you have a certification choice and training option lined up, you will have four months to complete training and another month to take an exam and additional exams/retakes if necessary.
How is this program being funded?
This program is funded by a $200,000 American Rescue Plan (ARP) grant given towards workforce development.