Google bringing economic opportunity initiative to Virginia

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Today, Google announced that it is coming to Herndon, Richmond and Roanoke as part of its Grow with Google initiative to help create economic opportunity in communities across the United States. Google will kickstart this work locally by hosting free, one-day events in three libraries to help job seekers, small business owners, students, educators and entrepreneurs improve their digital skills.

Virginia tour dates, cities and locations include:

            March 4 in Roanoke, Roanoke Public Libraries – Main Library

706 S Jefferson St SW, Roanoke, VA 24016

March 6 in Herndon, Herndon Fortnightly Library

      768 Center St, Herndon, VA 20170

March 8 in Richmond, Richmond Public Library

101 East Franklin Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219

“Virginia is a center for innovation, entrepreneurship and manufacturing. By bringing the ‘Grow with Google’ tour to the state, we are making a commitment to help develop a skilled workforce that can meet the needs of Virginia’s growing economy,” said Erica Swanson, Google’s Head of Community Engagement.

In recognition that libraries are increasingly centers for digital skills learning, Grow with Google plans to visit libraries in every state, partnering with them to deliver digital skills trainings directly to jobseekers and small businesses in their community. We will also train library staff and nonprofit leaders on a range of Grow with Google’s free tools and curriculum they can use on a daily basis.

Google staff will lead hands-on workshops about online marketing for small businesses, search engine optimization, email basics and coding. Attendees can also sign up for one-on-one training with Google staff, and tour demo booths to learn more about Google’s free products for learners and small businesses.  Attendees are welcome to drop in for a few sessions or stay all day.

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Google is partnering with community organizations like the Herndon Fortnightly Library, Richmond Public Library, and Roanoke Public Libraries. Following the Grow with Google event, Google will explore ongoing partnership opportunities with area organizations to help with job training and developing digital skills.

Google launched Grow with Google in October of 2017. The American initiative draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Through the initiative, Google aims to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today and those who will drive the workforce of tomorrow – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

Digital literacy

“We’re proud to be part of this workforce development initiative between Google and the American Library Association,” said Fairfax County Public Library Director Jessica Hudson. “It’s a valuable opportunity for job seekers, small business owners and community members to enhance their digital literacy skills with day of hands-on workshops at our Herndon Fortnightly branch.”

Specifically, Grow with Google aims to help address the skills gap by preparing Americans for middle-skill jobs, positions that require some skills but not four year degrees. According to the National Middle Skills Initiative, middle skill jobs account for 49% of Virginia’s labor force. A recent study by Burning Glass and Capital One found that more than 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs (82%) require digital skills. Overall, middle-skill jobs average $20 per hour.

In their 2017 Economic Impact Report, Google announced that 43,000 businesses in Virginia generated $3.96 billion in economic activity by using Google’s search and advertising tools. The full report details Google’s economic impact state-by-state, and features the stories of businesses fueling that growth, creating job opportunities, and transforming their communities.

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According to the American Library Association, nearly three-quarters of public libraries assist their patrons with job applications and interviewing skills, 90% help their patrons learn basic digital skills, and just under half provide access and assistance to entrepreneurs looking to start a business of their own.

To learn more about the free event and to register, visit g.co/GrowVirginiaSpace will be limited; so please register in advance.

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