As the House is set to meet on tax reform and vote on emergency aid for hurricane and wildfire relief today before going into a week-long recess, we’re looking in a different direction, one that many lawmakers have emphasized in the past few months: we’re going local. It’s with more than a little excitement that Google.org and Goodwill, the United States’ leading workforce development nonprofit, announced the launch of the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. Funded by a grant from Google.org and with the assistance of 1,000 Google volunteers, the new Goodwill initiative will enable more than one million people — including people with disabilities and disadvantages, youth, older workers, veterans and military families, and people who are transitioning back into society — to receive digital skills training over the next three years.
On the afternoon of October 12th, Goodwill and Google.org leaders participated in a “Digital Skills Career Day” — a half-day of sessions designed to raise awareness about the importance of digital skills training and career opportunities while building Goodwill team members’ capability to train individuals for careers in today’s digital economy. The trainings focused on a variety of topics ranging from applied digital skills to Google tools for jobs and demystifyed digital careers for participants.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are more than 6 million job openings in the United States. Many of these jobs remain unfilled because job applicants’ skills do not match those employers report they need. Efforts like the Digital Career Accelerator are one of the ways nonprofits and the private sector can come together to solve this discrepancy – to build the capacity of organizations and equip job seekers with the skills needed for today’s careers.
While the partnership is thrilling for our organizations and the communities they will serve, public investment is still a key component for success. The impact of education, training, and credentialing in a community is only as good as a person’s ability to access those opportunities. Goodwill organizations, and many others across the country, provide a holistic approach to working with people and families for this very reason. Crucial public programs like broadband access in rural areas, school lunch, assistive technology for people with disabilities, TANF, SNAP, after-school programming and childcare enable millions of people in the country to access work and education. Without these supports many people would be unable to work and learn their way out of poverty and into the sustainable career that might await them and their families.
If you or someone you know has benefited from a publicly funded program, please Share Your Story with us, so we can let lawmakers know the importance of that investment while they continue to debate the Federal budget and make critical choices on what will be funded.