ACC, Facebook team up on digital marketing program
ACC says partnership will help students build skills that jobs require.
Austin Community College and Facebook Inc. are partnering to develop a certificate program in digital marketing.
A vital goal of the program is to help people in small businesses and job seekers gain skills that are increasingly important as more and more commerce and communication shift to online platforms. A formal announcement of the partnership is scheduled for Monday morning at Fair Market, an event venue on East Fifth Street.
“The need for digital skill sets is probably more important today in marketing and digital media strategies than ever before,” said Richard Rhodes, ACC’s president and chief executive officer. He added that the use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms can benefit not only small businesses but retailers of many varieties, political campaigns and even educational institutions like the college itself.
Facebook is playing a “somewhat philanthropic” role in the project, Rhodes said. “They’re not charging us to develop the curriculum. Certainly it’s going to be beneficial to them or anybody else who uses digital media skills.”
ACC already has a partnership with Apple Inc. for teaching Swift, an Apple-developed programming language for apps.
Ana Martinez, Facebook’s Austin-based head of public policy and community engagement for the Southwest region, said the social media company pledged earlier this year to train 1 million small business people and job seekers by 2020. Besides ACC, Facebook has formed partner-
ships with nine other community colleges across the nation and plans to form 10 more by the end of the year. The programs are tailored to each college.
In addition, the company has rolled out other training opportunities, including a partnership with the National Urban League to offer training to small businesses twice a year in Houston, New Orleans and 11 other cities.
Many details remain to be worked out, but Rhodes said he hopes ACC can begin offering a class in digital marketing in the spring semester next year. It would initially be part of the college’s continuing education program and therefore would not earn participating students college credit. He hopes to offer it for credit as early as fall 2019.
The program more than likely will involve a hybrid model, with students learning online as well as in class, Rhodes said. He said the course probably will be offered initially at the Highland campus, which has a massive space with hundreds of computer work stations.
The Round Rock and San Gabriel campuses, with similar spaces, also could host the course, as could the Rio Grande campus when its renovation is completed, he said.