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Google announces career and digital training initiative for formerly incarcerated individuals

Google today announced the launch of Grow with Google Career Readiness for Reentry. The initiative — created in partnership with nonprofits The Last Mile, Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Defy Ventures, Fortune Society and The Ladies of Hope Ministries — is designed to offer job readiness and digital skill training for formerly incarcerated individuals.

As the company notes in a blog post today, returning citizens have an unemployment rate 5x higher than the national average — and returning citizens who are Black experience this at an even higher rate, due to discriminatory practices. In all, some 600,000 Americans attempt to make the transition from incarceration to employment every year.

Beginning this year, the initiative is set to train 10,000 people with a combination project-based and video learning curriculum. The learnings revolve around five points, per Google,

  1. Getting Started with the Basics
  2. Job Search
  3. Job Readiness,
  4. Online Safety
  5. “Next Step” Job Readiness Skills

“Lack of access to digital skills training and job coaching puts formerly incarcerated individuals at a severe disadvantage when trying to reenter the workforce and increase their economic potential,” said YouTube’s Global Head of Human Rights Malika Saada Saar in a statement tied to the news. “We are thrilled to work alongside program partners who have demonstrated true expertise and leadership in supporting successful reentry through digital skills training to men and women, mothers and fathers, impacted by incarceration.”

The company notes that the program is part of a broader initiative that has found it investing $40 million in criminal justice reform nonprofits, as well as $60 million for computer science learning.