Google said on Thursday that it will establish a $100 million fund to underwrite an ambitious effort to extend effective skills training and job placement programmes for low-income Americans. The fund would be administered by Google.
In its first year, the Google-backed effort will focus on a major problem: how to recruit and educate people for productive jobs in the contemporary economy, especially for the almost two-thirds of American workers who do not have a four-year college degree.
During an interview, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said that “I honestly believe this is one of the most critical issues for society to sort out.” According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, if the experiment is successful, it would serve as a “template for other enterprises to do more” and will demonstrate to legislators that there are better-performing alternatives to typical government training programmes.
Towards this end, the tech giant is collaborating with three nonprofit organisations: Year Up, which focuses on upward mobility programmes for the disadvantaged; Merit America, which provides technology training programmes for adults without a bachelor’s degree; and Social Finance, which designs student-friendly financing and repayment plans.
The training groups are reimbursed for a part of their expenses up front, with more payments made only if and when their trainees obtain and maintain higher-paying positions. The scheme will mix philanthropic contributions from Google with debt repayments from students. Students will not be charged interest on the loans, and they will only be required to begin repaying them if they get employment that earns at least $40,000 per year. The payments will be around $100 a month for a maximum of five years and will be made in instalments.
Because not all students will graduate and get higher-paying employment, the Google grant will cover the costs of starting and maintaining the programme. Loan repayments from successful students, on the other hand, will be used to fund training for future students. The Google fund aims to generate total income increases of $1 billion for graduates of training programmes via its investment.
Employers that cooperate with Google include three organisations that represent the latest developments in employment training and recruiting. They are more concerned with outcomes — graduates landing better-paying jobs — than they are with the sheer quantity of students who pass through their programmes. These individuals argue for employment on the basis of proven talents rather than screening for academic degrees. In addition, they are all experimenting with methods to make their programmes more financially self-sufficient and less reliant on philanthropic donations and grants.
However, experts believe that what effective training programmes accomplish beyond imparting technical skills is a critical component of their success. The programmes also place a strong emphasis on so-called soft skills, such as collaboration, communication, and a desire to learn new things, among other things. They often assist with the coordination of child care and transportation arrangements. Their professional services include career coaches, social workers, and counsellors; in addition, they facilitate peer groups and alumni networks.
Year Up, which began more than two decades ago, has grown into a nationwide organisation that provides services to low-income employees between the ages of 18 and 26. Following three to six months of technical training, participants complete a six-month internship with a firm. As a result of the group’s efforts, 80 percent of its graduates are placed in positions within four months, earning an average beginning salary of $44,000, which is more than quadruple their prior income, according to the organisation.
Participants in Merit America come from a diverse range of backgrounds, but they are often in their early 30s and have a decade or more of work experience, frequently in low-wage positions in restaurants and retail stores. The programme consists of three months of skills and workplace training, followed by a few months of job placement after completion of the skills and workplace training.
Merit According to the programme, the graduation rate in the United States is more than 80%, and virtually all of the graduates find employment. Graduate beginning wages now average more than $45,000, which is at least $18,000 more than they were before to the program’s implementation. With the most recent cohorts, both salaries and pay increases have been increasing.
A substantial portion of the nonprofit’s funding comes from donations and repayments on no-interest loans from graduates who go on to higher-paying positions, which is the model being used for the Google Fund.
Sandra Massie, a single mother from Virginia, had been working in the restaurant industry for nine years when she came across an internet advertisement for Merit America. The Google IT support certificate course, which she finished online while still employed by a restaurant chain, served as the basis for the skills development programme.
Ms. Massie received a job offer in 2019 before completing her training, thanks to the assistance of the NGO. She is currently employed by Intact Technology, a software consulting business, where she is moving from a tech support job to one in which she manages small teams of customers’ projects.
Today, Ms. Massie, 34, makes $75,000 a year, roughly twice as much as in her previous restaurant employment. She is covered by health insurance and receives paid vacation time, and her employer contributes to her 401(k) retirement plan. She has put up a college savings plan for her daughter, who is nine years old, and she owns a house.