Press Release

Press Release | 03/25/2019

Bertelsmann Launches Digital Education Initiative with Endowment of Around 50,000 Udacity Scholarships

  • Focus on Cloud, Data, and Artificial Intelligence
  • Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe: “Empower people to be successful in the digital world”
  • Program planned over three years in partnership with Udacity
  • Applications for scholarships open in summer 2019

Bertelsmann is launching a global education initiative to strengthen people’s tech skills: Over a three-year period, the international media, services, and education company will invest several million euros on funding as many as 50,000 tech scholarships on the online learning platform Udacity. The idea is to teach employees the digital skills needed for tomorrow’s job market.

Udacity, a global pioneer in lifelong learning, is an online education platform that develops practical online courses in collaboration with leading tech companies. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Bertelsmann is one of the Udacity’s largest shareholders.

Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe said: “The world of work is becoming increasingly digital, with digital skills becoming more and more important in every industry. There is already a shortage of skilled workers in the digital domain, and it will only increase in the next few years. At the same time, digitalization is leading to certain work activities being replaced by tech solutions in the future. Bertelsmann’s media, services, and educational offerings make us a leader in many areas of the digital world; we deal intensively with the opportunities opened up by new technologies. Accordingly, we see it as our responsibility to empower as many people as possible to be successful in the digital world, and to support policymakers in this. This is why, we are launching, together with Udacity, a global corporate-training initiative in the fields of Cloud, Data, and Artificial Intelligence.”

The program builds on the success of earlier initiatives: In recent years, Bertelsmann had already endowed several thousand scholarships as part of a collaboration with Google. The offer generated a great response, and the EU Commission recognized the joint training initiative with its “EU Digital Skills Award”.

Bertelsmann’s present scholarship program is aimed equally at people with or without programming or IT experience. It focuses on three subject areas:

  • Cloud, i.e. applications for online-based IT infrastructures
  • Data, i.e. applications for the analysis and interpretation of large volumes of data
  • Artificial Intelligence, i.e. applications related to machine learning and intelligent algorithms

Specifically, Bertelsmann plans to award, over a three-year period, up to 15,000 Udacity scholarships annually for a three-month Challenge course in one of these three areas. The top participants will then be offered a second scholarship to continue their studies and go on to earn a full Nanodegree.

Online applications for the scholarships open in summer 2019. The first Challenge Courses are expected to start in the fourth quarter of the current year.

Studies show that there is already a considerable shortage of skilled workers in the fields of Cloud, Data and Artificial intelligence, and that this shortage is going to increase in the years ahead. While there are only a few hundred thousand qualified experts available at this point, demand already runs into the millions.

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 119,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.2 billion in the 2017 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for entrepreneurship and creativity. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world.

About Udacity
Udacity is a global, online, lifelong learning platform connecting education to jobs and providing students with skills to advance careers. Udacity Nanodegree programs provide credentials earned through a series of online courses and projects in an array of subjects from self-driving cars and AI to data science and digital marketing. Udacity collaborates with more than 200 global industry partners, including AT&T, Google, Facebook, Lyft, and IBM, to close talent gaps. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., the privately-funded company has operations in China, Egypt, Germany, India and the United Arab Emirates. Its investors include Bertelsmann, Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures and Drive Capital. For more information, please visit