Grow with Google, Thurgood Marshall College Fund to train 20,000 students at HBCUs in digital skills

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Google announced their Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, a new initiative to help students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities prepare to enter the workforce through digital skill training through a press release October 14. Virginia State University (VSU) in Ettrick, Virginia, is one of the first four schools in the program.

According to the press release, The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) invested $1 million into the initiative to provide digital skills workshops in the career centers of 20 HBCUs. The initiative will reach 20,000 students over the next school year and will be made 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, in the press release. “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.”

Donald Palm, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Virginia State said in the press release the program aligns with the values of their university.

“At Virginia State University, we pride ourselves in providing transformative educational experience for our students. The Grow with Google HBCU Readiness Program will give us resources to provide additional opportunity for professional development and career readiness to help our students remain competitive,” he said. “We are grateful to Google and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for their generosity through this partnership with VSU.”

Director of Career Services Joseph Lyons said Google will serve as mentors to students and staff.

“Google will also provide our faculty and staff training to better equip our students with digital and problem-solving skills,” Lyons said.

The TMCF, the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black college community, has been connecting students with training, scholarships and jobs since 1987.

Harry L. Williams, President and CEO of TMCF, said in the press release that this program will help Black students navigate what’s next after graduation.

“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,” Williams said.

Grow with Google started in 2017 with the vision to help Americans develop their skills, careers and businesses. Since the program began, Grow with Google has partnered with more than 7,500 organizations like schools, chambers of commerce and non-profits to help people across the country. Lyons said additional information will be available as the months progress.

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