- Google is making its beginner-level course on information technology (IT) support available to 100 U.S. community colleges in states by the end of 2020 via a $3.5 million grant to workforce and education nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF), the company said in a statement.
- The IT Support Professional Certificate, hosted on the Coursera platform, is part of Google's Grow with Google technology training initiative. JFF previously brought the course to more than two dozen community colleges in 2018. Google said the schools adopting the program so far have either incorporated its lessons into existing curricula or offered it as a standalone program. The course takes fewer than six months to complete, requires no previous experience or college degree, and allows students to opt-in to sharing their information with employers hiring for IT support jobs upon completion.
- "Grow with Google's IT Support Professional Certificate is one way we are equipping people with the digital skills for future careers," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement. "I'm proud that we're expanding the program to more students in community colleges across the country."
Google's announcement signals it will continue to be involved in the conversation around U.S. workforce development — one that is increasingly influenced by the strategies of top corporations.
Aside from colleges, Grow with Google has also been active in forming partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups. In 2017, the company announced a five-year slate of grants for nonprofits, scholarships and other programs to promote skills training. Google joined Walmart last year in announcing a $5 million grant to fund organizations investing in worker training for future jobs. And in April 2019, Google announced it would expand an existing digital training initiative with Goodwill Industries, bringing digital and productivity software skills training to 126 locations.
Experts have debated in recent years whether job loss, whether caused by emerging technologies or other factors, will be as severe as some predictions estimate. But many studies indicate that employers will need to focus on training regardless; less than one-third of workers have the skills they need to perform today's work, let alone that for future roles, analysts at Gartner said at a 2018 conference.
Moving forward, employers may need to re-frame their training initiatives and investments in order to mitigate skills gaps. Some, like Boeing, have invested dollars at the primary and secondary education levels to introduce U.S. students to career fields and opportunities to which they otherwise may not have access. Others, like Amazon, are shifting the way internal funds are allocated in order to provide funding for workers on the ground floor, so-called "middle-skilled" individuals, who may be better prepared to take more advanced roles later on.