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How Upskill Vermont Reenergized Two Mid-Career Professionals

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When Robyn Birgisson and Brooke Bousquet logged on to their first day of class in UVM’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Certificate Program, they were happy to see one another. 

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Birgisson says of seeing her friend Bousquet. “There were quite a few people I recognized in the class.”

Both women enrolled in the course as part of the Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program, which offers eligible Vermonters up to two free online professional development courses to gain the skills, confidence, and support needed to achieve their career goals.

Birgisson, an account executive for Seven Days, and Bousquet, a graphic designer and Esty shop owner, enrolled in the Digital Marketing Fundamentals Certificate program for similar reasons—to grow their skill sets and benefit from a free course.

“It was really fun, and it felt like I was opening up parts of my brain,” Bousquet says. “I felt smarter. It felt good to be doing something for myself.” 

The eight-week online certificate program taught by seasoned practitioners covers everything from email marketing and SEO to display advertising and social media marketing. 

Birgisson, who has worked as an account executive for 19 years, says the program helped boost her confidence and enhance her skills.  

“I read the course description, and it was exactly what I was looking for, and more,” Birgisson says.

Once she enrolled in the online course, she appreciated the opportunity to attend live lectures and rewatch the recordings later. Also, having access to course material before a lecture was helpful, she says.

“I love that we could read the material ahead of time, so class time was more real-world and conversational,” Birgisson says. “The instructors have these fantastic, impressive jobs, but they are just like you and me. I wasn’t intimidated by them. I never felt like there was a dumb question.”

Bousquet first heard about the course from her husband, who had completed it a couple of years before she enrolled in fall 2021. She’s now applying what she learned in the program by using SEO, creating Google ads, and more for her Etsy shop. 

Both women also signed up for the career coaching option in the course, which includes brushing up on interview skills, resume writing, creating a job search strategy, and networking on LinkedIn. 

“It’s nice to know what else is out there,” Bousquet says.

When the next round of Upskill funding opens for registration, both say they would love another opportunity to take a free professional development course. 

“I will definitely jump on board,” Birgisson says.

Explore credit courses and non-credit certificates, including Digital Marketing Programs at Upskill Vermont today.

Note: Upskill Vermont Scholarship funding opened on July 1, 2022. Scholarship funding and seats in credit courses and certificate programs are going fast. Students are encouraged to join a waitlist if a course they are interested in is full and will be notified if an opportunity to join the class opens.