Google has announced a new initiative to help students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) enter the workforce with digital skills. Through a $1 million investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program will provide workshops in the career centers of 20 HBCUs, reaching 20,000 students over the next school year.
The first four schools in the program are Bowie State University, Winston-Salem State University, Southern University, and A&M College, and Virginia State University. The program will be available to all HBCUs by fall 2021.
“Today, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. require medium or advanced digital skills, but 50 percent of Black job seekers lack digital skills,” said Bonita Stewart, vice president for Global Partnerships at Google and Howard University alumna. “To address this skills gap and help Black students obtain the digital skills they need to succeed in the workforce, we’re proud to partner with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to launch the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program.”
TMCF—the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community—has a track record of successfully connecting HBCU students with scholarships, training, and jobs as they navigate college and careers. Its long history of on-the-ground work will ensure the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program is tailored to meet student needs.
The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program will provide HBCU career centers with funding and a semester-long in-person and online digital skills program, which will become available to students in November. The program will combine existing Grow with Google workshops with custom jobseeker content for Black students, including design thinking, project management, and professional brand building. TMCF, which is contributing to the program’s design, will work with HBCU career centers to onboard the program.
“We are excited to join in partnership with Google to help students at our member-schools gain the digital skills necessary in order to be successful,” said Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of TMCF. “We are confident that the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness program will help to move the needle and provide endless opportunities for our HBCU students.”
This $1 million Grow with Google investment is part of a $15 million commitment to upskilling Black workers. Announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in June, the investment aims to help Black job seekers learn new skills in partnership with national workforce development organizations.
Since 2017, the program has trained more than five million Americans in digital skills. The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program builds on the company’s ongoing investments in HBCU students.
Since 2013, the Google In Residence program has placed Google software engineers at HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) as faculty. The company also hosts Tech Exchange, a virtual student exchange program that teaches HBCU and HSU students applied for computer science courses.