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Bowie, Md.— Google announced the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, a new initiative to help Black students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) prepare to enter the workforce through digital skills training.
Through a $1 million investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), Grow with Google will provide digital skills workshops in the career centers of 20 HBCUs, reaching 20,000 students over the next school year. The program will be available to all HBCUs by fall 2021. Bowie State University in Prince George’s County, Maryland is one of the first four schools in the program, along with Virginia State University, Winston-Salem State University, Southern University and A&M College.
“Today, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. require medium or advanced digital skills, but 50 percent of Black jobseekers lack digital skills,” said Bonita Stewart, Vice President for Global Partnerships at Google and Howard University alumna. “To address this skills gap and help Black students obtain the digital skills they need to succeed in the workforce, we’re proud to partner with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to launch the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program.
“Investing in our students today is critically important to ensuring the workforce of tomorrow is strong,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “I join in thanking Google and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for bringing the new Grow with Google Career Readiness program to Bowie State University, and for helping provide HBCU students with the digital skills they need to succeed in the workforce.”
TMCF—the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community—has a track record of successfully connecting HBCU students with scholarships, training and jobs as they navigate college and careers. Its long history of on-the-ground work will ensure the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program is tailored to meet student needs.
“I am thrilled that our University was chosen to participate in this program. The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program will provide our students with career readiness skills they will need to be successful in their respective careers,” said Rosetta Price, Assistant Director of the Career Development Center at Bowie State University. “This program will help our students learn new skills and up skill as needed making them internship and job ready. Our Career Development Center team looks forward to working with TMCF and Google to implement the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program on our campus!”
The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program will provide HBCU career centers with funding and a semester-long in-person and online digital skills program, which will become available to students in November. The program will combine existing Grow with Google workshops with custom jobseeker content for Black students, including design thinking, project management, and professional brand building. TMCF, which is contributing to the program’s design, will work with HBCU career centers to onboard the program.
“We are excited to join in partnership with Google to help students at our member-schools gain the digital skills necessary in order to be successful,” said Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of TMCF. “We are confident that the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness program will help to move the needle and provide endless opportunities for our HBCU students.”
This $1 million Grow with Google investment is part of a $15 million commitment to upskill Black workers. Announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in June, the investment aims to help Black jobseekers learn new skills in partnership with national workforce development organizations.
Grow with Google is Google’s initiative to create economic opportunities for all by providing free tools and training. Since 2017, the program has trained more than five million Americans on digital skills. The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program builds on the company’s ongoing investments in HBCU students. Since 2013, the Google In Residence program has placed Google software engineers at HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) as faculty. The company also hosts Tech Exchange, a virtual student exchange program that teaches HBCU and HSU students applied computer science courses.