The following article was compiled from a press release issued by the office of Gov. Lamont.

Gov. Ned Lamont today announced the statewide expansion of a program that will make free online learning licenses available to recipients of unemployment insurance, including those who have been impacted by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 public health crisis. The SkillUp CT program will significantly expand access to comprehensive online course work from a leading global provider for thousands of Connecticut residents. Originally launched in eastern Connecticut, a sustained rollout of the program across the state over the coming weeks will enable recently laid-off workers to upgrade their skills and earn industry-recognized certifications even while the doors to most brick-and-mortar education and training providers remain closed.

The program is coordinated by the Connecticut Workforce Development Council in collaboration with the Connecticut Governor’s Workforce Council and the Connecticut Department of Labor. Based on a successful model implemented by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, it is being offered through Connecticut’s five regional workforce development boards.

Eligible Connecticut residents will receive email instructions on obtaining a Metrix Learning license that provides them access to about 5,000 online Skillsoft courses in areas such as information technology, business analysis, customer service, project management, and digital literacy, among others. Anyone with an internet connection and a computer can access courses. SkillUp CT also offers training tracks leading to over 100 industry certifications and will provide career coaching through the workforce boards.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an incredibly difficult situation for so many people, and this innovative and responsive initiative gives hard-working Connecticut residents a beneficial training opportunity that they can utilize from their own homes,” Gov. Lamont said.

“Governor Lamont created the Governor’s Workforce Council to give Connecticut residents access to workforce development services that prepare them for 21st-century jobs,” said Garrett Moran, chair of the Governor’s Workforce Council and the governor’s principal advisor on workforce development. “This innovative program enables us to make good on this promise despite the distancing requirements that have shut down classroom training and confined people to their homes. The SkillUp CT program will give Connecticut residents who have been forced to file for unemployment at-home access to the same high-quality training courses used by many Fortune 500 companies.”

The program will be funded by the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) under an existing grant to the state’s five regional workforce boards.

“CHEFA is proud to have partnered with Connecticut’s workforce development boards to continue to build a trained, skilled workforce,” CHEFA executive director Jeanette W. Weldon. “We’re pleased that during these extraordinary times, CHEFA funding helped the workforce boards expand online training offerings to jobseekers while most classroom training options are unavailable.”