- Google is launching new programs to help Americans acquire the skills they need to become employable or grow their business. Grow with Google offers free training and tools for students, teachers, businesses, job seekers, startups and developers. In all, the company has committed $1 billion in grants over the next five years to nonprofits that work to boost opportunity in key areas.
- As part of that plan, Google will in January launch a program for IT support developed on Coursera. The eight to 12 month program for an IT Support Professional Certificate will sponsor more than 2,500 full scholarships and connect graduates to companies like Google, PNC Bank, L’Oreal and others.
- Other programs include Applied Digital Skills, which teaches the basics of working with tech, from email to spreadsheets. Available to everyone, Google says its hoping to expand it to community colleges and vocational programs. G Suite certification verifies proficiency in essential workplace tools. And the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge is a partnership with Udacity offering 50,000 scholarships.
Employers are trying to close the skills gap to assure a capable workforce in myraid ways, including both in-house training and apprenticeships. With its scope, resources and influence, Google is poised to make significant strides.
While new technology provides opportunities for growth and jobs, it also can create knowledge gaps. To bridge those gaps, Google has been actively involved in outreach for many years; it recently announced $100 million for nonprofits that address gaps in the labor market and education. For its employees, it also offers an opportunity to affect change: Googlers may volunteer 1 million hours to help front-line organizations.
If anything, Google's latest moves in the space may reflect the growing realization by tech companies generally that if they want to truly defeat the supposed skills gap, they must be willing to put in the time to train both current and future potential employees. A recent Randstad study revealed that although 80% of workers feel upskilling is their responsibility, neither they nor their employers are acting on upskilling opportunities. That responsibility may very well end up falling to employers.