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Leveling Up: Chattanooga State’s Google Certificates Propel Professionals

In Greater Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Community College marries education and workforce development to facilitate career advancement among beginning and intermediate professionals, fostering a ripple effect on the region’s economic growth.  

With its offering of the  Google Career Certificate program, the institution is breaking new ground by equipping learners with innovative skills tailored to the demands of the modern digital landscape. This initiative does not just transcend traditional education; it is also an investment in the economic future of the community. 

Designed by Google, this program addresses a critical need for skilled professionals in today’s digital economy. By bringing students face-to-face with industry leaders and bridging the gap between classroom knowledge and real-world application, Chattanooga State is laying the foundation for a workforce that can drive economic innovation and progress. 

The program’s impact on students’ lives becomes vividly evident through their stories. Individuals like Lauren Pagonis, Sales Coordinator, Nooga Shuttles, and Jaclyn Lewis, Public Relations Specialist, Ruby Falls, have leveraged Google’s Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Certificate to carve their career paths and make significant contributions to their respective teams.  

Pagonis began her journey with the intent to level up not only herself but her father’s business, Nooga Shuttles. The five-year-old business had been experiencing exponential growth, from its humble beginnings with two shuttle vans to an entire fleet of private use transportation options for corporate and special events, the team saw it was time to level up in the digital realm. Reflecting on her experience, Pagonis shares, “I grew up on social media and Google. But you don’t know until you sit down, and you’ve got someone telling you, ‘This is how you can attract the most customers—this is how you can be seen.’ It’s then that you realize it’s way more involved than you think. It’s incredible how vast this is!” 

Pagonis’s role at Nooga Shuttles has expanded to include what she has learned in email and social media marketing, and she continues to challenge herself to build the business. “Hopefully, I’ll get into running some Google ad campaigns next, and it’s great that I have these new resources. I can go back multiple times and review the materials anytime. So specifically, for someone like me, this was an amazing opportunity.” 

Lewis’s narrative highlights the certificate program’s adaptability, catering to diverse needs. Fueled by the desire to expand her skill set, Lewis turned to the Google Career Certificate program for its versatility and affordability. Overcoming challenges posed by the hybrid learning model, she discovered that the program’s true value lies in the instructors like Kate Izell, CEO, Izell Marketing Group, who is the instructor of the Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Certificate. Lewis looks back on her experience, “There were times when it was difficult, however Kate, was so good and so responsive about answering questions and giving you resources.” 

Lewis also applauds the more focused class size and hybrid classroom environment, “I love small classrooms. I love in-person classrooms. I think the location of ChattState was great, and very accessible.” When reflecting on what she thought could be better, Lewis shared, “The only thing I wanted more of was more in-class time.” In furthering her education, she also found more confidence in exploring more opportunities and introducing herself to other professionals. “It is nice to show that I have done something that was extremely relevant to the job opening,” says Lewis. “And that’s seriously amazing.” 

At the heart of the Google Career Certificate program’s success lies the influence of instructors like Kate Izell, who teaches the Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Certificate and supplies the accountability that students need to power through the short program. Izell’s unique teaching philosophy emphasizes personalized attention within small class sizes, fostering an intimate and impactful learning environment. As an industry expert, Izell weaves real-world experiences into her teaching, offering students an insider’s perspective on navigating the digital landscape. 

Izell is passionate about arming the community with marketable skills, “Teaching is not just about sharing knowledge; it’s about empowering students to apply that knowledge in the real world. Our program bridges the gap between theory and practice.” 

Izell and her fellow instructors, in partnering with Chattanooga State, transcend the boundaries of conventional online education by encouraging hands-on learning. The College recognizes that a Google Career Certificate is a resume-builder tool, offering learners the chance to level up their skills and careers.  

Looking ahead, Chattanooga State envisions businesses of all sizes recognizing the inherent value of the Google Career Certificate program for their employees. The program’s curriculum, crafted to address the ever-changing demands of the digital landscape, offers an invaluable solution for employers seeking to equip their workforce with innovative skills. Through personalized instruction and hands-on experiences, the program empowers learners to confidently tackle the challenges of the digital era. 

Izell confidently adds, “We aim to bridge the gap between what businesses need and what employees bring to the table. Our graduates are ready to contribute effectively from day one.” 

Google recognizes the transformative impact of the Google Career Certificate program at Chattanooga State. 

“Google is proud to partner with Chattanooga State Community College to offer our Career Certificates program,” said Lisa Gevelber, Founder, Grow with Google. “We’re thrilled that the program is helping Tennessee learners train for the state’s high-growth jobs, increase their earning potential, and learn skills to succeed in today’s workforce.” 


– Learn more about Chattanooga State Community College: https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/ 

– Explore the Google Career Certificate programs offered through Chattanooga State: https://www.chattstate.edu/google-certificate-programs 

– Discover Izell Marketing Group: https://www.izellmarketing.com/ 

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