Google has formally begun a partnership with five nonprofit organizations to provide digital skills and jobs training for 10,000 formerly incarcerated people this year, using the "Grow with Google" program.
Google helped create curricular and video tools for the partnership, which will be provided by the The Last Mile, Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Defy Ventures, Fortune Society, and The Ladies of Hope Ministries, all of which work with formerly incarcerated individuals to help them resettle and find jobs. The company is also assigning some Googlers to partner with each of the nonprofits to coach some of the program participants in resume development and job interviewing.
The program is not designed to create a pathway directly into careers at Google, but rather to provide participants with digital skills and job interview skills they can take to any organization. Google is providing the service as part of its racial equity commitments (though of course, providing tools and services is always a good PR move).
About one third of all people in the prison system do not have a high school degree or GED, and most prisons provide fairly limited educational opportunities, usually focused on literacy.
"Digital skills are essential for career success and economic mobility," Christopher Watler, the chief external affairs officer for the Center for Employment Opportunities, said in a press release. "In a recent survey of CEO participants, 56 percent indicated a desire to learn digital skills. People leaving incarceration need immediate access to employment to support themselves and their families. Most can't afford to miss work to attend educational or training classes."