UCLA Extension, which provides continuing and professional education courses, Monday announced it has received nearly $3 million to fund a new initiative offering low- or no-cost professional certificates to adults from underrepresented and underserved communities.

The UCLAxCareerBridge program will offer a total of $2.9 million in grants for UCLA Extension programs in substance abuse counseling, data science and early childhood education.

UCLA Extension noted that each program has projected job growth, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 23% job growth for substance abuse counselors from 2020 to 2030, 28% for data scientists through 2025, and 18% for early childhood assistant teacher jobs through 2030.

The grants are part of a $15 million one-time funding from the University of California Office of the President for the UC system to “develop or expand degree and certificate completion programs at the University of California extension centers” in the State Budget Act of 2019.

The UCLA Extension grants are expected to support more than 300 students receiving certificates after one year. The students will also receive support for fees, books, their graduation ceremonies, job readiness and career service from the grant.

“UCLA Extension’s mission and 100-year history are about providing opportunities for advancement and empowering individuals. Now, through UCLAxCareerBridge, our open enrollment program can further support adults seeking a rewarding career but who lack the financial resources to do so,” said Eric A. Bullard, dean of continuing education and UCLA Extension.

“Working in concert with our important community partners, we will welcome the first group of deserving adults into UCLA Extension through our new initiative this fall.”

The UCLAxCareer Bridge program is part of UCLA Extension’s efforts to be more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Its partner organizations, which will help the program identify and recruit students, include Child360, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, PUENTE Learning Center, South Bay Workforce Investment Board, United American Indian Involvement, Inc., and Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation.

People interested in learning more about the program can call 310-206-2560, email careerbridge@uclaextension.edu or visit uclaextension.edu/uclaxcareerbridge.

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