In a nutshell: The Covid-19 pandemic has had a crushing effect on the world economy, leaving more than 26 million Americans newly unemployed. In an effort to help people back into work, online education company Coursera has made its catalog of 3,800 courses and 400 specializations available for free.

As reported by Forbes, the learning platform is allowing federal, state, and local government agencies serving the unemployed free access to the courses, which normally cost $399 per year. The offer lasts until September 30, and anyone enrolled before that date will have until the end of the year to complete their courses.

The Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative, an extension of its Coursera for Government program, will be available in Arizona, Illinois, and Oklahoma initially. The free courses aren't just for the newly unemployed in the US: Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan will be the first overseas countries to implement the initiative.

Courses range from business writing to teamwork skills, while job paths include Android app developer, cloud architect, and java programmer. Thanks to Coursera's partnership with several tech giants, professional certificates such as IBM z/OS Mainframe and Cloud Engineering with Google are available.

Coursera is also examining offering free courses through non-governmental organizations that service the unemployed, which it said will be on a "case-by-case" basis.

Around 2.7 billion workers around the world are estimated to have been affected by the pandemic. The situation has led to online learning services Kaplan and Udacity also offering free development and training resources.

Image credit: Alex from the Rock via Shutterstock