Google announced plans Monday to pitch in $10 million to help pay for job training programs across the country, following a massive spike in unemployment that drove jobless rates to the highest they've been in decades.
The Mountain View-based tech giant is also kicking off its own in-house bid to help those looking for work, launching a suite of new training programs designed to help job seekers brush up on their tech skills. The "Google Career Certificate" programs now include data analytics, project management and user experience (UX) design.
The coronavirus pandemic and the public health restrictions that followed have caused unemployment in the U.S. to skyrocket, with the national unemployment rate jumping from from 3.5% in February to 14.7% in April. Jobless rates have eased since then, but remained in double-digit territory through June.
In a blog post July 13, Google announced it would provide a combined $10 million in grants to three groups -- the YWCA, NPower and JFF -- to improve job training programs, with a focus on providing tech skills training to women and underserved communities. The majority of new jobs created over the last decade demand a requisite level of digital skills, putting them out of reach for many Americans.
"This presents a challenge for many job seekers as well as to America's long-term economic security," said Kent Walker, Google's senior vice president of global affairs. "People need good jobs, and the broader economy needs their energy and skills to support our future growth."
To that end, Walker said Google is expanding its certificate programs to include practical skills like data analytics to help them better qualify for high-paying jobs, with an eye towards making it accessible to those without a college degree. The company will be giving away 100,000 need-based scholarships to participate in the certificate programs for free. Certificate programs are both designed and taught by Google employees with expertise in the field.
The announcement builds on the tech company's philanthropic efforts, which focused on giving nonprofits a helping hand through Google's normal business model -- selling ads using its search engine. The company pledged to provide $200 million in free search ads for nonprofits, who can use the pro bono advertisements to attract donors and recruit volunteers. Eligible nonprofits include those focused on the COVID-19 response and fighting racial injustice.