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Google promises $1 billion to help job seekers get the tech skills they need

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Internet giant Google will provide $1 billion in grants over five years to help Americans acquire the skills that will be required in a job market that is changing rapidly because of technology.

Citing an Economist survey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told an audience in Pittsburgh on Thursday that less than half of 18- to 25-year-olds believe their education gives them the skills they need in today’s workforce.

“That’s a significant gap that’s only going to become more urgent,” Pichai said. “One-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today.”

The initiative, called Grow with Google, will provide grants to nonprofit organizations working in areas that Google believes will boost opportunity.

“We understand there’s uncertainty and even concern about the pace of technological change,” Pichai said. “But we know that technology will be an engine of America’s growth for years to come.”

The company has launched a website, google.com/grow, where job seekers and others can get training and professional certificates.

USA Today reports the initiative is an acknowledgment that Google is partly responsible for technology changes that are contributing to job loss.

In the past few months, Pichai said, Google has committed $100 million to chosen nonprofits. The company committed $20 million more on Thursday.

Specifically, it will give $10 million to Goodwill, which it called the nation’s largest workforce development nonprofit, for the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator program. It is the largest grant Google has ever given to a single organization. It will be able to offer 1.2 million people digital skills and career opportunities in all 156 Goodwills over the next three years, Google said.

Pichai also said Google employees will contribute 1 million volunteer hours over five years to help nonprofits promote tech literacy.

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC

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