Florida Memorial and Bethune-Cookman universities are among 16 HBCUs included in Google's announced expansion of its Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program.
Through a $1 million investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the program provides digital skills workshops in HBCU career centers to help Black students prepare for the workforce. Announced in October, the initiative’s goal is to reach 20,000 students during the current school year. The expansion brings the number of participating schools to 20 and will be available to all HBCUs by fall 2021.
“The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program is an innovative initiative that not only will prepare students for the workforce, [it] will also help them develop skills that will enable them to start their own entrepreneurial ventures,” said Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson. “No matter what industry they choose to enter, they will be required to possess technical expertise. Thanks to Google and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, these students will have a competitive edge.”
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund – 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 ensures the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program is tailored to meet student needs.
“Google believes investing in HBCU students strengthens the future workforce and increases economic opportunity,” said Bonita Stewart, vice president for global partnerships at Google and a Howard University alumna. “We’re proud to expand our Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to reach more HBCU students with the digital skills they need to thrive in the workforce.”
Started last October, Grow with Google provides HBCU career centers with funding and a semesterlong in-person and online digital skills program. The program combines existing Grow with Google workshops with custom job-seeker 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 it.
“I am truly elated about Google’s partnership to strengthen the career pathways at our HBCUs. This investment demonstrates Google’s commitment to be a true partner to help develop a pipeline of diverse talent for the global marketplace," said Dr. Jaffus Hardrick, FMU president. "The program will help us continue to hone the skills of our students so that they are highly competitive and ready to solve future challenges. A diverse workforce makes a stronger American workforce.”
The $1 million Grow with Google investment is part of a $15 million commitment to upskill Black workers. Announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai last June, the investment aims to help Black job seekers learn new skills in partnership with national workforce development organizations.
“A central part of the mission of TMCF is to prepare the next generation of workforce talent. Our partnership with Google enables this mission and ensures students from historically Black colleges and universities are positioned to compete for meaningful careers,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, TMCF president and CEO.
Grow with Google is the company’s initiative to create economic opportunities for all by providing free tools and training. Since 2017, the program has trained more than five million Americans on 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 computer science courses.
“As the representative of Florida Memorial University, South Florida's only HBCU, I am delighted that FMU students are able to participate in the program and excited to see how far this opportunity will take them,” said Wilson.
For more information on Grow with Google’s HBCU Career Readiness program, please visit the TMCF website at tmcf.org.