Miami Dade College is about to deepen its relationship with Silicon Valley.
The College, along with Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, announced at a Facebook Community Boost event on Dec. 18 that it is developing a partnership to create a college credit certificate centered on digital marketing.
“At MDC, it is our mission to empower our students to be trendsetters and changemakers. This partnership will undoubtedly teach our students invaluable digital marketing strategies and prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century economy,” said MDC President Eduardo Padrón in a press release.
The partnership expands on MDC’s efforts to develop a digital marketing certificate, which they received state approval for last year and is set to launch in the fall of 2019. It also allows the Idea Center to launch a workshop series for local businesses and community members.
Students can earn the certificate through the digital marketing associate’s degree pathway.
“This is very much at the heart of what the Center has been doing since its inception, except that now we get to collaborate with Facebook on curriculum development and additional resources available to both students and the community,” said Juan Mendieta, MDC’s director of communications.
The deal is an extension of Facebook’s Community Boost initiative, which aims to help local entrepreneurs succeed in communities by improving their digital skills. The College has been interested in learning more about Facebook’s efforts to train small businesses and Facebook, having pledged to partner with 20 community colleges across the country as part of a nationwide training effort, was more than willing to respond.
“Our goals were aligned from the start, and it lead to the partnership announced this past December,” Mendieta said.
The certificate will incorporate Facebook’s Blueprint Curriculum, which is also the basis for the Idea Center workshops and will be part of the one taught by MDC professors. The goal, according to a Facebook spokesperson, is for certificate graduates to have added knowledge in an increasingly digitized workforce, helping complete its own goal of training one million people and small business owners in digital skills by the end of 2020
It will serve as a stacked certificate, meaning that it can be used in conjunction with other licenses, certificates and apprenticeships in completing the redesigned digital marketing degree.
The partnership comes at an interesting time for the company, which faced numerous privacy scandals recently including allegations that Russian agents used the social media site to spread false information to influence the 2016 presidential election, drawing scrutiny from Congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“This partnership is concentrated on curriculum development, making sure students and the community can better utilize the Facebook and Instagram platforms to grow their businesses,” Mendieta said. “MDC will not waive a student’s privacy right or violate any FERPA regulations. We’ve also received reassurances from Facebook which has very publicly addressed these issues.”
Despite the College’s assurances of Facebook’s reassurances, the company couldn’t provide them on its own. When asked by The Reporter about the need to protect students’ privacy in relation to this new certificate, the company did not respond to the question.