Virginia State University is starting a new program to help students become more career ready in a digitally focused world, and it’s getting help from Google.
The search engine giant has announced an initiative called the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, in which it will provide 20 historically Black colleges and universities with workshops for students to improve their digital skills. Google has made a $1 million commitment to the program.
VSU, which is one of the first four HBCUs to enter the program, will be able to provide students with online classes and workshops focused on crafting a résumé, creating a compelling presentation and building a professional brand.
Google also will provide a “Train the Trainer” element in which Google representatives will assist VSU career services staff and faculty who will work with the students, said Joseph Lyons, VSU’s senior director for its Academic Center for Excellence.
Three other HBCUs are part of the launch — Bowie State University, Winston-Salem State University and Southern University and A&M College — which takes place next month. Within a year, Grow with Google expects to reach 20,000 students at 20 HBCU’s.
“Today, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. require medium or advanced digital skills, but 50% of Black job seekers lack digital skills,” said Bonita Stewart, vice president for global partnerships at Google.
Google is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that connects HBCUs with scholarships, training and jobs, to contribute to the program’s design and to work with the colleges to initiate it. Google also will provide funding to each college.
The $1 million commitment by Google is part of a $15 million project announced in June to help Black job seekers learn new skills in partnership with workforce development organizations.