Google Announces $1 Million to Upskill HBCU Students

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Google is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide digital skills training to students at HBCU’s in the United States (Courtesy Photo)

By AFRO Staff

A Maryland HBCU will be among the inaugural group of Black tertiary education institutions to participate in the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, which was announced by the technology giant on Oct. 16.

Bowie State University will be among the first of 20 HBCU’s nationwide that will benefit from the program that is geared toward arming Black students with the digital skills training that is necessary to compete in today’s job market. Bowie will join Winston-Salem State University, Southern University and A&M College and Virginia State University as the first recipients.

With its initial investment of $1 million in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the program promises to reach 20,000 students over the next school year. 

“Today, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. require medium or advanced digital skills, but 50 percent of Black jobseekers lack digital skills,” said Bonita Stewart, vice president for global partnerships at Google and Howard University alumna, in a statement. “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 will work with Google to design the program, which will provide HBCU career centers with funding and in-person and online digital skills training for students, beginning in November. TMCF will also work with the school career centers to help implement the program, which will be available to all HBCUs by fall 2021.

“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 and CEO of TMCF, in a statement. “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.”  

HBCU’s are key contributors toward the education of Blacks in America, but they are often faced with unique challenges.

“While the student bodies of HCBUs are incredibly diverse, HBCUs disproportionately serve low-income and first-generation students who may be less academically ready than their peers,” Williams said in a blog post announcing the partnership. 

The HBCU program is part of a $15 million commitment announced by Google in June that is geared toward helping Black jobseekers attain new skills.