Facebook’s Community Boost week is off and running over at Franklin Junior High School, where the tech giant announced a new marketing partnership with a Des Moines institution.

Facebook and Des Moines Area Community College will soon offer the Facebook Digital Marketing Certificate to DMACC students, representatives announced at a policy and small-business roundtable with Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend this morning.

DMACC is only the second community college to be announced as a Facebook partner in the initiative. The program will be available to students at DMACC and Central New Mexico Community College starting in the 2018 fall semester.  

“It’s about a partnership to bring the resources that DMACC already provides — the training, the curriculum they have — and our curriculum as well, and combining it into a digital marketing certificate,” said Parisa Zagat, head of U.S. Digital Skills at Facebook. “With both CNM and DMACC, we are in the process of developing that curriculum. … We’re going to work over the summer to create the curriculum that would go into the certification program.”

The program joins 250 other degrees and certifications offered by DMACC, including an existing digital marketing certification. The curriculum will meld DMACC’s existing certification with Facebook Blueprint, 90 free e-learning courses the social media company has developed since 2011, Zagat said.

“Many of our students are looking for short-term training so they can get into jobs sooner. This is the kind of skill that is particularly appropriate for short-term training, and it also can build into a degree later on,” DMACC President Robert Denson said.

“It will keep up with any changes that are made. … Facebook Blueprint is always kept up to date. That will be incorporated, and as a result, the curriculum for the community college will always be the latest tools and offerings, and the best practices as well,” Zagat said. “That’s the beauty of having a partnership with them. We can talk about it, and as the curriculum rolls out, we can get the feedback from schools and the students, and try to keep improving that curriculum.”

The program is a 30-hour certification, and the curriculum is led by Facebook and accredited by DMACC’s information technologies partnerships board, which represents IT companies throughout Iowa, Denson said.

“We’ll look at it and evaluate it and make sure it meets all our accreditation standards, which we are sure it does,” Denson said. “If you’ve got an an additional certification that gives you a leg up, particularly in this day and age where every business you go to is looking for someone who is digitally savvy.

“We operate at the speed of business, so we’re always teaching with the most current equipment and the most current competencies,” he added. “The businesses that work best with us are telling us what they need two or three years down the road.”