Now, universities in the Bay Area are giving essential workers an accessible chance to further their education for free.
Throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers have stepped up to the call of duty and given back so much to the communities around them.
For the California State University system, San Francisco State and SFSU College of Extended Learning Dean Alex Hwu, a "thank you" wasn't enough.
They wanted to do more.
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"What can we do to be a significant contributor to continue to help people progress their academic goals and careers?" Hwu said. "Through San Francisco State, we have a great program to offer."
That program is Courses for Causes.
The College of Extended Learning offers free and discounted courses in subjects such as clinical trials, human resources and project management to first responders and essential workers.
The CSU offers FREE professional development courses to first responders, health care workers and other essential employees through the university's #COVID19 Courses for Causes. #CSUPaCE #CSUforCA— The CSU (@calstate) January 5, 2021
Check out the full list of available courses: https://t.co/hm623Wklgb pic.twitter.com/7stRUAW7Jz
Nine universities in the CSU system, including CSU East Bay and SFSU are part of the program.
SFSU offers course credit and business certificates through online and open university classes to help anyone complete their education.
"San Francisco State is a wonderful institution and can be the best affordable, accessible education destination for not only the students that want to be here from 18-24 years old, but for the life-long learning opportunity for everyone who have their career goals or want to re-tool themselves," Hwu said. "We should be considered first in the Bay Area."
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Courses have been offered in the fall and winter sessions of 2020 as well as the recently started spring semester.
Hwu hopes this program can grow and continue past the end of the pandemic to help the community and build a better Bay Area.
"Higher education needs to reconsider how do we do and how do we serve," Hwu said. "This is not only for the traditional student, but beyond that and I think that's where I see the value. I think this is the goal and we will be able to continue this in the foreseeable future"
For more information visit the SFSU College of Extended Learning website here.