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Leon Kaye headshot

Google Provides $10M Grant to Boost Skills Building at Goodwill

By Leon Kaye

Goodwill has been consistently ranked as one of the organizations doing the most to boost skills training for the workers, especially for those who  have the least access to such opportunities, including veterans, people with disabilities, the formerly incarcerated and senior citizens.

Now thanks to Google employee volunteers and a $10 million grant from the company, Goodwill recently announced it will have the capacity to offer job training to over one million people over the next three years.

This initiative is an attempt to bridge the mismatch between those who are unemployed and companies who say they struggle finding qualified workers to fill their open positions. As widely reported over the summer, the U.S. Department of Labor has reported that approximately 6 million jobs across the U.S. were unfilled - a problem that has long frustrated employers and job seekers alike.

The problem is that technology is increasingly an important part many jobs, including those positions in manufacturing, retail, customer service or in warehouses.

Google's partnership with Goodwill launched last month in western Pennsylvania, where volunteers employed at Google staffed workshops and training sessions that ranged from applied digital skills to the use of the company's cloud-based applications.

The program, dubbed the Goodwill Career Accelerator, is expanding nationwide, including in Northern California's Bay Area, where Goodwill's employees have started applying their skills by photographing, editing and cataloging items that the non-profit sells on its online portal. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, these workers may covet a warehouse job at the likes of Walmart of Amazon, but the days of simply being physically fit enough to lift boxes heavier than 50 pounds or knowing how to pilot a forklift are over - some technical know-how is required by just about any employer. But for job seekers who had been homeless for years, or were imprisoned, they missed out on the ongoing technical revolution - and therein lies one of many obstacles these workers face in their search for a regular paycheck.

Google is one of many technology companies that have realized efforts to accelerate skills building in the U.S. and abroad is in their best interests, whether it is to secure their brand reputation or groom a future pool of employees. Earlier this decade, for example, Microsoft launched a program, YouthSpark, that has aimed to develop technical skills for students, including children who are still in primary school. The enterprise software giant SAP has long viewed technical training programs as a way to boost its inclusion efforts here in the U.S. and as far away as South Africa. And Cisco has worked with NGOs worldwide to boost technical job opportunities, including for women in the Middle East.

“Goodwill is the leading workforce development nonprofit in the United States and Google is proud to support them as they prepare more than one million people across the country to get the critical digital skills they need to be successful today and in the future,” said Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org in a public statement. “We both share a commitment to create opportunities for everyone, and we’re excited to amplify Goodwill’s amazing work through our giving and Google volunteers.”

Image credit: Goodwill/Facebook


Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye