In the latest move to bring downtown back, DC’s government and tech giant Google have a new million-dollar opportunity for potential tech workers.
The pair announced today a $1 million grant to fund tech training. The grant, which is a partnership between the city and Google, will support Ward 8 charter schools’ Community College Prep Academy’s IT Pathways program. It will cover scholarships for 250 students, who will be able to participate in a Google Career Certificate training program and learn IT, analytics, UX design and project management skills. According to the city and Google, learners will be able to complete the program in three to six months, with no previous degree or experience required.
“This partnership with Google aligns with our larger goal of ensuring DC residents have access to jobs and careers in high-demand, high-growth, and good-paying industries,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. “We’re proud to work with Google to give more Washingtonians a fair shot.”
Bu the overall payoff, Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development John Falcicchio told Technical.ly, is larger. With partnerships such as this, Falcicchio hopes to grow the Innovation District the city is creating in the Golden Triangle area.
“As we try to develop an innovation district, a lot of the job postings that we’ve seen are actually for more entry-level or certification-type positions, not as much for advanced degrees,” Falcicchio said, adding: “What Mayor Bowser wants to be able to do is connect DC residents to the jobs in the future, especially as we try to bring back downtown with an innovation district.”
The grant was provided by Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm. The certificate program is part of Grow with Google, the tech giant’s initiative to boost economic mobility through training programs and digital assets. The certificate, which can be completed in part-time study, also connects certificate holders to an employment consortium featuring companies like Booz Allen Hamilton, Leidos and Google itself for hiring after completion.
The partners also hope to boost digital equity in DC. According to Google, 70,000 people have graduated from the program in the US, and 55% of graduates identify as Asian, Black or Latinx.
Falcicchio hopes the initiative will show that the city has a plan to get residents the necessary certifications to participate in emerging economies. But it’s only one of the partnerships with large corporations in the works: Just last week, the city partnered with coworking giant WeWork to invest $16.3 million in office space downtown for entrepreneurs. Falcicchio also seeks to add more apprenticeship programs, especially in the tech and entrepreneurship space.
With partnerships like this one, he said, he thinks it’s an ideal opportunity to invest both in DC’s workforce and for tech companies to create a pipeline of workers.
“We all know that there are new jobs that just haven’t been built,” Falcicchio said. “So it’s really a really smart investment because, one, it helps our residents and, two, it helps the companies who will need more people interested in the field.”-30-