In October 2017, I returned to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—the first city I saw when I came to America over 25 years ago—to announce Grow with Google, a new effort to create more opportunity for everyone. At the heart of this goal was our five-year commitment to provide $1 billion in Google.org grants and 1 million Googler volunteer hours to organizations all over the world. Goodwill Industries International was one of the first groups to join us in this effort, and just over a year later, I’m proud to share that our work together has already helped a quarter of a million Americans learn new digital skills, and 27,000 Americans find a job.
This impact was made possible by the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator (GDCA), a program to equip 1.2 million Americans with the digital skills needed to succeed in today’s job market and prepare for the changing workforce. GDCA was launched with the support of a $10 million Google.org grant made to Goodwill Industries International, the largest grant we’ve ever made to a single organization.
Goodwill has a track record of helping place people in jobs that provide good wages and pathways to future careers, and the impact we’ve seen through this program is no different. One example is Simone in Astoria, New York, who was hired as a remote receptionist after taking a weeklong customer service and call-center training that taught her basic computer skills. Other job seekers have found positions in fields like IT support, aircraft manufacturing, and information and communications technology.
In the case of Chelsea, these trainings led her to a job at Google. After moving home to Nashville from Atlanta, she struggled to find housing for her family. While working at Goodwill of Middle Tennessee, she was encouraged to enroll in the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program. With nearly one year of training under her belt, she’s now working at our data center in Clarksville, TN, and has moved with her daughters into a house nearby. Chelsea is one of 66,000 people enrolled the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, and 84 percent of whom say it helped them to advance their job search or career.
Goodwill’s programs also give people the digital skills they need to launch and grow a business. Femeka in Fort Worth, Texas, started her own gift basket business, but was struggling to reach new customers. She saw a flier for the Goodwill program at a local women’s shelter and completed courses in basic computing, internet navigation, productivity tools and G Suite in just a few weeks. Femeka used these new skills she learned to create order forms for her gift baskets and build a website to attract new customers.
Goodwill’s model is effective because it’s not a cookie cutter approach to job training. There’s something for everyone to learn that can benefit their careers, whether it’s getting basics skills like word-processing or email, or more specific skills to get a better job in the same field. Local Goodwill organizations are also empowered to build programs that fit their communities best. In Wichita, Kansas, a lack of transit options led the local Goodwill to bring classes to 35 rural communities around the state in an RV!
The Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator operates at 93 Goodwill organizations across 34 states, with plans to expand to 126 in the coming months. Meanwhile, 200 Google employees have volunteered their time and expertise to conduct trainings, and seven Google.org Fellows are embedded full-time at Goodwill locations across the country.
Our strong collaboration with Goodwill has contributed to the progress we’ve made toward the goal of $1 billion and 1 million hours we set in Pittsburgh. Overall, Googlers have already served 280,000 volunteer hours and we’ve made over $300 million in grants. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, but there’s a lot more to work to make sure everyone has access to opportunities, no matter where they live. We’ll continue to update you on the lessons we’re learning and the impact we’re seeing in the months and years to come.