In the Middle East and North Africa, only 38 percent of youth believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter the workforce. By 2020, one in five jobs in the Arab world will require digital skills that aren’t widely available today. Many women are contributing to the innovation coming out of the Arab world, yet this region has among the lowest female economic involvement globally.
To address the growing skills gap in the region’s workforce, and to help ensure that opportunities created by technology are available to everyone, we’ve launched Maharat min Google (the English translation is “Building Capabilities with Google”). It’s an initiative to help Arabic speakers, specifically women and young people, get ready for future job opportunities, advance their careers, or grow their businesses. Maharat min Google will provide free courses, tools and in-person digital skills training to students, educators, job seekers and businesses. The online platform includes over 100 lessons and explanatory videos covering a range of digital marketing skills including search engine marketing, social media, video, e-commerce and more.
All over the Arab world, people use digital skills to realize their goals. We’ve created a series of short films that follow the journeys of six Arab women who have become entrepreneurs, women’s rights advocates and ground-breaking YouTube creators. They show how technology has helped them overcome obstacles, enabled them to forge their own paths and inspire other women to do the same by learning digital skills.
We’re proud to support nonprofits that are teaching Arab youth the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly digital economy. INJAZ Al-Arab, a nonprofit that connects Arab youth to trainings and job opportunities, will use a $1 million grant from Google.org to help 100,000 high school and university students—particularly women and underprivileged students in rural areas—expand their digital skills through hands-on training across the region.
We’re also collaborating with MiSK Foundation to provide in-person digital skills training to over 100,000 people in Saudi Arabia with a target of 50 percent female participation. Our new collaboration will open up a wider range of career opportunities for women and young people to use key digital skills that they’ve learned from the courses.
Technology is a toolkit filled with opportunities—and Maharat min Google aims to help Arabic speakers around the world put those tools to work. We’re partnering with governments, universities, private-sector businesses and nonprofits to help more people take advantage of what the web has to offer.