Google launches $50m effort to prepare job seekers for the ‘future of work’

Google has announced a $50m initiative to help people prepare for the changing nature of work. The two-year commitment will fund nonprofits focused on issue, with the first grantees in the US and Europe and their are plans to expand it to other regions soon.

Organisations will also be able to draw on Googlers’ volunteer time for technical advice. Combined with its $50m effort to help close the global education gap, Google.org has now committed $100m to supporting education and economic opportunity.

There are three main ways where we think our grants can help:

  • Better connect job seekers with jobs. Its grants will support organisations who are driving innovative approaches to connecting job seekers and employers. This includes Code for America, which has created new technologies that help job seekers more easily use government services for help in finding jobs, and Bayes Impact in France, which uses machine learning to deliver custom recommendations and tips to job seekers so they can improve their job search strategy and land the job they want. (Google is also seeing where our own products can help: a new feature in Google Search uses machine learning to make sense of all the job postings on the web for easy-to-understand search results; Hire, meanwhile, makes it easier for employers to find and attract new talent.)
  • Help ensure training is as effective and as wide-reaching as possible. Millions are spent each year on work skills and technical training programs, but there isn’t much visibility into how these programmes compare, said the company, or if the skills being taught truly match what will be needed in the future. So some of its funding will go into research to better understand which trainings will be most effective in getting the most people the jobs of the future. Google grantee Social Finance is looking at which youth training programmes most effectively use contributions from trainees, governments and future employers to give people the best chance of success.
  • Improving job quality for low-wage workers. Service jobs are the fastest growing category of jobs in the US, Europe and many other developed economies, and likely will continue to be. But as more people go into these jobs, they’re finding it hard to get the kind of support that has historically been typical for workers in big corporations. Google grantee, the National Domestic Workers Alliance has a service called Alia that pools money among domestic workers through a small monthly fee. It allows a worker who gets injured to collect money to survive financially while taking some days off to heal. Alia will use the grant money to expand the program while Googler volunteers will help find ways to help market and translate the service.

“We hope that this funding and commitment from Google.org will contribute to a larger effort across companies, government, and civil society to help create a more inclusive economy for everyone,” it said in a statement.