Free digital skills programs make learning a lifelong journey
Janitor, seamstress, housekeeper, gardener: These were some of the jobs my parents held after we immigrated to the United States. Growing up in a lower-income neighborhood, I never knew anyone who worked with computers professionally. That changed when my brother signed up for a computer course, providing him the digital skills that would lead to a four-year university and ultimately a career as an engineer.
These days, whether someone is a janitor or a housekeeper or an engineer, they can benefit from—and deserve access to—basic digital skills. In today’s job market, it is critical to know how to navigate job search websites, write a resume, craft a professional email, develop a budget, and so much more.
That’s why, as part of our Grow with Google initiative to drive economic opportunity for all, Google’s Applied Digital Skills is partnering with the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) to train educators in all 50 states on essential digital skills for the evolving workforce. In the two years since launching Applied Digital Skills, a core part of the Grow with Google program, over a half-million students, including many adult learners, have used the curriculum to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.
Tamara Rood-Spenker, an adult education instructor who teaches down the road from our Google office in Mountain View, California, told me recently that Applied Digital Skills lessons expose her students to new job skills, like using formulas to analyze data in spreadsheets, showing them how technology can make many tasks simpler in their day-to-day lives.
Educators will now be better positioned to help adult learners prepare for and find jobs, build their businesses and even work toward earning their high school equivalency credentials. COABE represents over 55,000 adult educators in the United States who support underserved adults to master the skills they need to build their careers.
Together with COABE, Google will hold 200 hours of in-person professional development sessions for adult educators. We will also build new support guides and training materials, hold webinars and feature best practices in digital skills training. And we will also provide new, free Applied Digital Skills lessons on digital skills that adult educators can utilize in their classrooms.
I know firsthand that learning never ends. As an immigrant to the United States from a working class family, a former community college instructor, and now a Googler leading outreach for computer science and digital skills training, I know education is an ongoing process. We’re excited to be a part of that process with the teachers who make learning a reality, organizations like COABE who support educators and the Americans who wake up every day ready to take their next step.