Business owners: Google is offering to pay for your employees data and business education training

BY Sydney LakeMay 12, 2022, 1:00 PM

A sign is posted in front of a Google office in San Francisco, California, as seen in April 2022. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The professional workforce looks pretty different from how it did back in early 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced brick-and-mortar companies to move their business online, which left some jobs obsolete—or in serious need of a revamp. In fact, 77% of workers are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain, according to PwC’s Upskilling Hopes and Fears 2021 report.

While the pandemic changed the way we work, companies found new ways to conduct business. “We can attribute much of the country’s economic resilience over the past two years to the hard work and adaptability of American businesses—and to the digital tools that helped them,” Lisa Gevelber, founder of Grow with Google, tells Fortune. “We want to build on this momentum.”

To help businesses of all sizes reskill and upskill their current employees, Google announced on May 2 that all US companies are eligible to receive up to 500 free scholarships for Google Career Certificates, a value of $100,000 per business.

“It’s no secret that businesses of all sizes are struggling to hire and retain talent with key skills,” Gevelber says. “Google is excited about how this offering will particularly help small businesses who may not have upskilling programs for their employees and who are eager to find talent with digital skills.”

Training adds to Google’s certificates program

This new training program tacks on to Google’s $100 million fund that grants access to Google Career Certificates to 20,000 individuals—an initiative that CEO Sundar Pichai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced in February. That program also provides professional coaching, interview preparation, and job placement services, as well as living stipends.

Available certificates as part of Grow with Google’s new program include IT support, data analytics, and project management. Google also announced this week the launch of its digital marketing and e-commerce certificate, which will train workers to find customers online, sell products or services, and perform marketing analytics and measurement.

“The world is quickly becoming an visual place, and both digital and visual communication will be key for just about every career,” Amy Schultz statement, Canva’s global head of talent acquisition, said in a announcing the program. “We’re looking forward to working with Google to empower people in a job market that is all about skill development.”

How to apply for the program and what it’s like

About 75% of small-and-medium sized businesses reported adopting digital tools during the pandemic, according to Gevelber, but Grow with Google’s new program is available to US-based companies of any size. “Digital skills can help these businesses continue to grow online, reach new customers, and unlock new sources of revenue while also providing more opportunities for their workers.”

Any business based in the US can apply for the program, and all eligible companies can receive up to 500 free scholarships, which is a $100,000 value, according to Google. That values ​​each certificate at about $200. The certificates are offered through Coursera, an online education provider, and take about three-to-six months to complete. Students aren’t required to have a degree or experience in the field they’re studying, according to Google.

The application asks baseline questions about the business, including the number of employees, industry, and contact information. Gevelber coins it as more of a “simple verification process.”

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