July 20, 2024

US partners Google for USD 100 million Google Career Certificates Fund

Photo courtesy of Google: Karrim Omer, Google Career Certificates Graduate, Data Analytics

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo together announced the launch of a $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund. Through its support of ‘Social Finance’, the Fund aims to drive $1 billion in aggregate wage gains for more than 20,000 Americans through the Certificates, which equip people with job-ready skills in fields like Data Analytics, IT Support, Project Management, and UX Design within 3-6 months—with no degree or experience required. Social Finance will deploy Google capital and Google.org grants to Merit America, Year Up, and other nonprofit training providers. The nonprofits will provide the certificates with wraparound services such as professional coaching, interview prep, job placement assistance, and living stipends to support essentials like childcare and transportation.

“We are excited to support Social Finance to help expand economic opportunity for more Americans with our new $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet. “This innovative funding model brings together digital skills training and support services to connect more Americans to high-growth, high-paying jobs. We hope it will be transformative for people, their families, and their communities.”

“The Biden administration is laser-focused on creating good-paying jobs for American workers, and it is especially important for us to come up with creative solutions that enable women and parents to fully participate in our economy,” said Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce. “Top business leaders understand that investments like child care are fundamentally investments that enable people to work. That’s good for workers, it’s good for the economy and it’s good for business. I look forward to continue working with Google and its partners behind this innovative program to help families get ahead.”

The initiative uses a student-friendly financing model, where there are no upfront costs for learners to participate. Learners only repay program costs via no-interest, low monthly payments if they secure a job making at least $40,000 annually. Social Finance will reinvest repayments back into the program for several years to enable more learners to benefit. Through the initiative, Google aims to catalyze and encourage others in the industry to make training more affordable and accessible for Americans.

MDRC, an independent third-party, will validate the wage gains the program aims to create at scale, assess the program’s effectiveness in creating economic mobility, and develop a body of research to validate these types of financing structures for future workforce development initiatives.

“What would you do if you knew the risk of failure was next to zero, with the only costs being your time, hard work, and commitment?” said Tracy Palandjian, CEO and co-founder of Social Finance. “This innovative program, the most student-friendly financing of this scale, eliminates the financial risks for learners pursuing new career paths. As the manager for the investment program, Social Finance’s role is to ensure that learners build skills to match the needs of today’s economy—and realize life-changing wage gains.”

Social Finance selected the inaugural training providers, Merit America and Year Up, based on their previous success delivering results for historically underserved jobseekers. In addition to wraparound support, Certificate graduates also gain access to an Employer Consortium of more than 150 companies — including Bayer, Ford, Deloitte, SAP, Verizon, Walmart, Wayfair, and Google —that consider Google certificate graduates for relevant open roles. Google will also provide employees with opportunities to volunteer with learners to help them navigate the transition into digitally-focused careers by hosting virtual mock interviews and career coaching in areas related to the certificate fields.

The Google Career Certificates were developed by Google employees to support skilling in high-demand fields. Available on Coursera, the program can be completed in three to six months of part-time study, with no degree or experience required. Over 70,000 people have graduated from the program in the U.S., and 75% of them report a positive career impact, such as a new job, higher pay, or a promotion, within six months of completion. Fifty-five percent of graduates identify as Asian, Black, or Latino.

Today’s announcement builds on over $50 million in previous Google.org grants to organizations like Per Scholas, NPower, Goodwill, and LULAC and 100,000 need-based scholarships for Google Career Certificate learners in the U.S.




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