Contact: Adaora Schmiedl
In June, Google announced an initiative to help people impacted by incarceration gain digital skills through strategic partnerships and programming
November 15, 2022 - CLEVELAND — Today, Towards Employment announced it’s working with Google to provide digital skills programs to advance economic opportunity for people impacted by incarceration. In June, Google shared its investing $4 million toward a new fund that aims to expand its justice reform work. Over 500 nonprofit organizations across the country applied to receive support from the fund, and Towards Employment is one of the recipients selected by Google based on its history of helping people who have been impacted by incarceration receive training, career resources, and job placement support.
More than 600,000 Americans leave incarceration each year and face higher jobless rates than the U.S. average. The lack of technology in prison creates further barriers to employment, as digital skills are increasingly essential in the current job market. Towards Employment will use the new funding to integrate Google’s digital skills curriculum into its existing career readiness programming, with the goal of helping people impacted by incarceration learn skills for today’s jobs. Towards Employment is also leveraging Grow with Google curriculum to assist new candidates who need additional help to prepare for career readiness training and alumni who are refreshing existing skills or building additional business skills.
Jill Rizika, Towards Employment President and CEO, says “the range of topics in this digital skills curriculum allows us to strengthen our training and create more opportunity for candidates who have had limited exposure to technology all the way through to program graduates who are interested in advancing through additional business and entrepreneurial activity.”
“As we work to create a more inclusive economy, we’re committed to helping people impacted by incarceration access training for today’s jobs,” said Tia McLaurin, Senior Manager, Grow with Google. “We’re proud to work with outstanding partners to ensure more people can qualify for great jobs and create a new beginning for themselves and their families.”
The selected organizations will use Google digital skills curriculum that was co-curated with five nonprofits— The Last Mile, Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Defy Ventures, Fortune Society and The Ladies of Hope Ministries. The program’s training includes five learning paths that Google developed in collaboration with nonprofit partners: (1) Getting Started with the Basics, (2) Job Search, (3) Job Readiness, (4) Online Safety, and (5) “Next Step” Job Readiness Skills. Lessons vary from fundamental digital skills such as how to apply for jobs online and create a resumé, to more advanced topics including entrepreneurship and business budgeting. Partners will integrate this curriculum into their existing programs to help people develop skills that will help them get a job or start a business.
Since launching in April 2021, Grow with Google’s program has helped more than 10,000 people impacted by incarceration obtain digital skills. Out of participants surveyed, 85% said that they felt more prepared for their future, and over 75% reported they had a job or were enrolled as a student by the end of the program. To date, Google has given over $48 million in Google.org grants and committed 50,000 pro bono hours to advance criminal justice reform. Learn more about how Google is expanding access to digital skills training to support individuals who were formerly incarcerated at grow.google/justice-impacted.
About Towards Employment
The Towards Employment mission is to empower individuals to achieve and maintain self- sufficiency through employment. Towards Employment is a proven leader in workforce development that connects people to careers, which changes people’s lives, advances businesses, and strengthens communities in Northeast Ohio. Learn more about our work at www.towardsemployment.org.
About Grow with Google
Grow with Google was started in 2017 to help Americans grow their skills, careers, and businesses. It provides training, tools, and expertise to help small business owners, veterans and military families, jobseekers and students, educators, startups and developers. Since Grow with Google’s inception, it has helped more than nine million Americans develop new skills.
Grow with Google has a network of more than 8,500 partner organizations like libraries, schools, small business development centers, chambers of commerce and nonprofits to help people coast-to-coast.