Google.org has announced a two-year, $50 million commitment to help prepare workers for a changing twenty-first-century job market.
To that end, the tech giant's philanthropic arm plans to fund nonprofits that are using innovative technology to train workers in the skills they need, connect job seekers to positions that match their skills and talents, and provide support for low-wage service workers. With an initial focus on efforts in North America, Europe, and Australia, the initiative also will provide grantees with technical assistance from Google employee volunteers.
Through the initiative, Google.org has already awarded grants totaling $5 million to four nonprofits, including Social Finance, which will receive $750,000 to help prepare low-income and minority students for college and career through its Pay for Success program; and Code for America, which was awarded $1.5 million to work with workforce development agencies on technology that connects job seekers with training, career counseling, and job opportunities. Google.org also awarded €1 million ($1.16 million) to Bayes Impact, a French organization that crunches government data to provide personalized job recommendations and job-hunting tips; and $1.5 million to the National Domestic Workers Alliance to help scale and develop new products that enable domestic workers to access benefits such as sick leave and disability insurance.
The economic opportunity grants are designed "to make sure technology and training are available for everyone and can help narrow gaps and inequities," Google.org president Jacquelline Fuller told USA Today. The organization also plans to invest $2 million in research on the future of work to better understand how technology can help workers prepare for new jobs, opportunities, and industries, she said. The commitment puts economic opportunity among Google.org's top priorities, along with education and inclusion. Earlier this year, the organization committed $50 million to education technology initiatives.
"The Google.org work initiative grant will catalyze the development of the first Pay for Success projects focused on career and technical education," said Tracy Palandjian, CEO and co-founder of Social Finance, "providing young people access to the skills they need to thrive in today's global economy."