MCAAD and Coursera Launch American Dream Academy, America’s Largest Tuition-Free Online Skills Program for Underemployed Workers


WASHINGTON, March 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream (“MCAAD”) and Coursera, one of the world’s largest online learning platforms, today launched The American Dream Academy, a new free initiative which will equip up to 200,000 Americans with the skills to increase their career options or put them on the path to furthering their education.

MCAAD’s mission to expand access to the American Dream is achieved through a series of programs with corporate and nonprofit partners that will provide Americans with skills and tools to increase their chances of securing employment as better quality and better paid. The Academy, designed and built by MCAAD and Coursera, will provide free certified job training to underserved Americans nationwide to advance social and economic mobility in the digital economy.

Rapidly changing job demands require equipping America’s workforce with the right skills and tools. Ninety-one percent of U.S. businesses accelerated their digitalization plans in 2020, but workforce skills have not transformed at the same pace.1 The Academy’s mission is to lead the way in helping businesses improve Americans’ skills for the changing world of work and position learners for the enhanced career paths and increased earning potential they need to access. to their American dreams.

“Our mission with this partnership is to give underemployed young Americans the opportunity to learn skills that will qualify them for next-level employment, so they are better positioned to thrive and work toward their ultimate dreams. Simultaneously, The program will provide a steady stream of talent to companies that want to diversify their workforce and focus workforce training on the skills of the future, not the past,” said Dr. Kerry Healey, President of MCAAD. “We encourage businesses across America to join us and Coursera in expanding opportunities for underserved youth to ensure a skilled workforce for the future.”

The Academy program consists of three components: courses that lead to certification in an in-demand technical skill; courses focused on workplace skills, including communication, critical thinking, and developing a growth mindset; and learner supports, such as community initiatives, to help learners progress through the courses. Learners will begin the program by sharing their aspirations, assessing their strengths and setting clear goals after the program ends.

“We are honored to partner with MCAAD to launch the American Dream Academy and empower 200,000 American workers to develop the skills and qualifications needed to advance their education and enter high-growth digital careers,” said Jeff Maggiocalda, CEO of Coursera. “This kind of institutional collaboration, providing free job training to underserved communities, will be essential to revitalizing the American Dream and creating a more equitable workforce in the digital economy.”

The Academy will offer entry-level certificates created by some of America’s largest companies, including Google, IBM and Meta, which equip learners who don’t have a college degree or technical experience for high-paying digital jobs in high demand sectors. This includes access to content such as Google Career Certificates, which prepare graduates for in-demand jobs in the high-growth fields of data analytics, IT support, project management, and user experience (UX) design, and support Spanish language learners. There is currently 1.3M open jobs across the United States in these career fields, with an average entry-level salary of $69,000.

“Every young adult should have the opportunity to succeed in their careers, and the American Dream Academy will help thousands of people realize their full economic potential,” said Lisa Gevelber, Founder, Growing with Google. “We are proud to support this initiative by providing access to our Google Career Certificates, industry-recognized credentials that are accepted by over 150 employers, including SAP, Verizon, Wayfair and of course Google, looking to hire in the framework of the program.

Many entry-level certificates from Google and IBM have an ACE®️ credit recommendation, allowing for more flexible paths to pursue a college degree. Learners who earn a certificate are eligible to receive up to 12 college credits from participating colleges and universities in the United States, or the equivalent of four college courses at the associate degree level. Western Governors University will offer guaranteed admission to many of its career-oriented bachelor’s degree programs.

Those who complete the program will earn an American Dream Scholars badge. The Academy intends to create an online community of successful participants who can provide a network of support for each other and help fund others through this program over time.

“American Dream Academy’s mission to support career education, especially for underserved populations in the United States, will help diversify our future workforce,” said Charles H. DeBow, III, executive director of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. “The National Black Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with this national initiative and create fantastic opportunities for economic mobility. We encourage our members and their businesses to use these scholarships and prepare our communities for the evolution of work. “

The American Dream Academy also has partnerships with EY, IBM, Meta, SV Academy, University of North TexasWelcome.US, and Western Governors University.

For more information about the American Dream Academy and to register for the program, visit For any partnership request, please contact [email protected].


The mission of the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream (MCAAD) is to advance the economic and social mobility of people in America and around the world. The Center celebrates individuals who exemplify the ideal of the American Dream, confront barriers to opportunity, and catalyze solutions that advance economic and social mobility for all. MCAAD focuses on expanding access to the four pillars of the American Dream: Education and Educator, Public Health and Medical Research, Access to Capital and Financial Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship and innovation. Through these four pillars, the Center will deliver a wide range of educational programs and inspirational content, events, meetings, research and surveys, as well as building partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations and civic organizations that can impact people’s lives. and expand opportunities. In 2023, the Center will open its physical doors on Pennsylvania Avenue in washington d.c. to visitors from all over the world. For more information, visit


[email protected]

About Coursera

Coursera was started in 2012 by two Stanford computer science professors, Andre Ng and Daphne Koller, with a mission to provide universal access to world-class learning. It is now one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, with 92 million learners registered on the September 30, 2021. Coursera partners with over 250 leading academic and industry partners to offer a broad catalog of content and credentials, including courses, specializations, professional certificates, guided projects, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Institutions around the world use Coursera to upskill and retrain their employees, citizens, and students in fields such as data science, technology, and business. Coursera became a B Corp in February 2021.


Maria-Nicole Ikonomou
[email protected]

1 Coursera’s 2021 Global Skills Report finds the US lags behind in digital skills, ranked 29th globally (June 2021)

SOURCE Milken Center to Advance the American Dream


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