UCLA Extension is launching a partnership with Global Alumni, a Madrid-based educational company, aimed at extending its presence and reach in Latin America.

This initiative, announced Thursday, targets professionals in Latin America and Spanish speakers in other countries, offering online courses in business, finance and technology. Specific course focuses will include operations, project management, mergers and acquisitions, information technology, international trade, finance, and entrepreneurship.

“This partnership is a win for employers and professionals,” said Van Anderson, director of corporate education and custom programs at UCLA Extension. “The fact that these UCLA Extension courses are offered in Spanish allows us to provide access to a UCLA curriculum.”

About 50 percent of firms in Latin America can’t find candidates with the necessary skills, compared to 36 percent in 35 countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to international workforce consulting firm Manpower Group.

Global Alumni started from an MBA project at the IESE Business School in Spain with the goal of providing online instructional design and content delivery. In the United States, Global Alumni is partnered with Harvard Online Business School, San Ignacio University in Miami and George Washington University.

Fall enrollment in the UCLA program is open for courses in project management, international finance, and food, mood and eating behaviors. Courses are 12 weeks with 36 instructional hours, and fees are $1,800. Participants receive a certificate of participation upon completion.

Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.