The COVID-19 pandemic has displaced the very structure of America’s educational institutions and replaced it with remote learning for students.
For many Black college students, the unequal access to digital learning has negatively impacted their job pursuits as they prep to enter the real world with new guidelines.
In an effort to absolve the digital learning gap for those students, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund has partnered with Google to offer 20,000 HBCU students access to digital skills training starting in November, Forbes reports.
According to Forbes, the global tech company will launch a Career Readiness Program via a $1 million grant that will insert its national online skills training initiative, Grow with Google, and custom workforce readiness workshops into the career centers of 20 different HBCU schools.
The HBCU Career Readiness Program will reportedly offer content that explores topics such as design thinking, project management and professional brand building.
The goal for this program is to eventually reach all 101 HBCUs in America and the nearly 300,000 students that are enrolled in them by Fall 2021.
“We’re seeing this digital transformation and acceleration occur, and so we’re making sure that the career centers within these educational institutions have the ability to immediately provide access to skills training,” Howard University graduate and vice president of global partnerships at Google, Bonita Stewart told Forbes.
The first four schools to participate in the program are Bowie State University, Winston-Salem State University, Southern University A&M College and Virginia State University.
Forbes reports the program’s initial $1 million investment is part of a $15 million pledge to help upskill Black job seekers — a fund that Google announced back in June amid the widespread social uproar as part of its larger $175 million commitment to racial equity.
Google already has standing partnerships with HBCUs, most notably its Tech Exchange — a pilot program that launched in 2017 as a three-month computer science residency for Howard University students. It has since expanded to help students from about a dozen Black and Hispanic-Serving institutions.
“At the fund, we leverage corporate partnerships that provide students from communities like these with the opportunity to access resources they wouldn’t normally have access to, especially those who are first-generation college students or first-generation corporate professionals,” said Harry Williams — president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund — to Forbes.
“This is a unique opportunity to give these students a competitive advantage and help them advance their skills in technological areas,” he added.
For more information about Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Google’s partnership, click here.