- Rhode Island will launch a virtual career center in partnership with Google Cloud as part of a statewide private-public partnership aimed at supporting workers displaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google Cloud announced in an Oct. 21 statement.
- Due to launch in late November, the virtual career center will use a mix of Google Cloud technologies — including a "first-of-its-kind" career-matching, machine learning algorithm delivered via chatbot — to deliver personalized recommendations to job seekers and employers. Google's Workspace platform will allow candidates to schedule video meetings with career coaches, recruiters and employers.
- Currently, Rhode Island job seekers may access the state's Back to Work webpage, where a "preliminary chatbot" can help them find career resources, training opportunities, job openings and additional support, per the statement.
Though job training and recruiting partnerships are nothing new to the learning and development space, having seen a degree of adoption before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought together an increasing number of employers, state and local governments, and education institutions.
Google is one of those players; months prior, the company joined a $1 million partnership to launch digital skills training programs at 20 historically Black colleges and universities. Now more than three years into a five-year, $1 billion commitment to close skills gap issues in the U.S., the company backed a variety of approaches ranging from setting up certificates to working with nonprofits. In 2019, the company's charitable arm expanded an existing partnership with Goodwill Industries International to provide digital skills training and mentorship. It also has worked to bring beginner-level courses on information technology support to U.S. community colleges via a grant to workforce and education nonprofit Jobs for the Future.
Such partnerships are viewed by some observers as necessary to counteract policy decisions and economic forces that have eroded so-called middle-skill occupations in the U.S., sources at the Brookings Institution said last year.
Employers may also have an economic incentive to solve skill gaps: a report earlier this year from Boston Consulting Group found "skill mismatches," or disparity between the skills workers possess and what organizations will need in the future, may amount to a "6% annual tax" on the global economy resulting from lost labor productivity.
Recent events have accelerated concerns about workers' skill development, but racial equity in talent development has received increased attention. Sources who spoke to HR Dive earlier this year said employers may be able to achieve more equitable training and mentorship programs in part by choosing partner organizations that have a track record of backing diversity as well as collecting data on the participation of underrepresented groups. Overall, employers can integrate L&D into larger diversity and inclusion goals to drive results.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Google's Workspace platform. HR Dive regrets the error.