GOOGLE TO GIVE $ 1 BILLION, HELP U. S. WORKERS FIND JOBS
‘ Grow with Google’ starts in Pittsburgh, heads next to Indy
“The nature of work is fundamentally changing. ... One- third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today. It’s a big problem.” Sundar Pichai, Google CEO
Google will invest $ 1 billion over the next five years in non- profit organizations helping people adjust to the changing nature of work, the largest philanthropic pledge to date from the Internet giant.
The announcement of the national digital skills initiative, made by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in Pittsburgh on Thursday, is a tacit acknowledgment that the company bears some responsibility for rapid advances in technology that are eliminating jobs in the U. S. and around the world.
Pichai’s pitstop in an old industrial hub that has reinvented itself as a technology and robotics center is the first on a “Grow with Google Tour” that will crisscross the country to provide career advice and training. It heads next to Indianapolis in November.
“The nature of work is fundamentally changing. And that is shifting the link between education, training and opportunity,” Pichai said in prepared remarks at Google’s offices in Pittsburgh. “One- third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today.”
Google will make grants in its three core areas: education, economic opportunity and inclusion. Already, it has handed out $ 100 million of the $ 1 billion to non- profits, Pichai said.
The largest single grant — $ 10 million, the largest Google’s ever made — is going to Goodwill, which is creating the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. Over the next three years Goodwill, a major player in workforce development, aims to provide 1 million people with access to digital skills and career opportunities. Pichai says 1,000 Google employees will be available for career coaching.
In all, Google employees will donate 1 million volunteer hours to assist organizations such as Goodwill trying to close the gap between the education and skills of the American workforce, Pichai said.
The announcements, which drew praise from state and local politicians including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, come as Google scrambles to respond to revelations that accounts linked to the Russian government used its advertising system to interfere with the presidential election.
Google is embroiled in a growing number of other controversies, from a Labor Department investigation and a lawsuit by former employees alleging systemic pay discrimination, to the proliferation of misinformation in search results and extremist content on YouTube. As the controversies have multiplied, so too have calls for Washington to regulate Google because of its massive scale and global reach.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve seen massive, market- creating and labor market- disrupting companies try to address growing public pressure and possible regulatory limits in this way. But it often has been individual corporate titans who’ve gotten into philanthropy — Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller — as a way to rehabilitate their own images, tarnished by anxiety about the size of their companies and treatment of workers,” said Margaret O’Mara, a history professor at the University of Washington.
“What’s interesting here is what this signals about Google’s future business ambitions. It is betting that its next era will be one not of search and apps but of devices and labor market interventions.”
Google, O’Mara says, will have “undeniably disruptive impacts on the jobs people do and the skills they need for them.”
On Thursday, Pichai detailed other programs Google is undertaking.
uGrow with Google is a free online program to help Americans secure the skills they need to get a job or grow their business.
uIn January, Google will launch an IT certificate program developed with online education provider Coursera that includes hands- on labs to prepare people for jobs in eight to 12 months.
uWorking with Udacity, Google is creating the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge. The top 10% of applicants who enroll in Google developer courses will receive scholarships.
uGoogle will give away 20,000 vouchers to get G Suite certification.
“We don’t have all the answers. The people closest to the problem are usually the people closest to the solution,” Pichai said. “We want to help them reach it sooner.”