The advent of artificial intelligence and other previously unimaginable technologies has a lot of people worried about what work will look like in the future and whether the current workforce is prepared to survive the ongoing disruption of the economy. With that in mind, Google has announced a commitment to donate $1 billion in grants and 1 million hours of Googlers’ volunteer time over the next five years to nonprofit organizations dedicated to training US workers and building businesses for the future of work.
TechCrunch’s Brian Heater covers the announcement, which Google CEO Sundar Pichai made at an event in Pittsburgh — a place where the topics of economic disruption and technological displacement are very salient:
The location of the event will not be lost on anyone who has followed Pittsburgh’s growth over the last few decades. The Steel City has long served as an ideal example of an economy that’s rebounded from the brink of disaster. In Pittsburgh’s case, technology was a primary driver, thanks to Carnegie Mellon, which has helped transform it from post-Rust Belt depression to one of the country’s leading tech hubs. These days, the walls of Pittsburgh’s former factories house cutting-edge innovations in fields like robotics and autonomous driving. …
The company is committing $10 million to Goodwill as part of the initiative — the largest Google.org has committed to one organization. That money will be used to help launch the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator, aimed at preparing the American workforce for high-tech jobs. Grow with Google also will take the form of a national tour hosted by libraries and community organizations aimed at bringing training and career advice directly to local towns and cities.
According to the announcement, the initiative’s overarching goal is to “give anyone in America the tools and training they need to get a job, for free”:
We’ve launched an online hub—google.com/grow—where job seekers, teachers, local business owners, and developers can get significant training and professional certificates. …
For people who want to get closer to tech, we’re also putting together programs to make IT far more accessible as a career. In January we’ll launch a first-of-its-kind program in IT support that we developed on Coursera. The IT Support Professional Certificate includes hands-on labs to take learners to job readiness in eight to 12 months. We will sponsor 2,600 full scholarships through non-profit organizations; 100 of them will go to an organization here in Pittsburgh, Partner4Work. To ensure these courses directly translate into jobs, we’re connecting graduates with potential employers including Bank of America, L’Oreal, PNC Bank, and, of course, Google.
This week’s announcement comes just a few months after Google.org, the tech giant’s philanthropic arm, announced a $50 million multinational grant program to fund research and nonprofit initiatives to prepare the global workforce for the future of work.