Tag Archives: grow with google

Grab your library card to learn digital skills in Europe

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from guest author, director of the Ilona Kish, Director of the Public Libraries 2020 Program in Europe.

When you think of your local library, you may recall the memory of getting lost in a good book , or even using a computer for the first time. Today people think of computers and smartphones as ubiquitous–always charged and at their fingertips. But for too many, computers are—to excuse a librarian’s pun—a closed book. For those unable to access or use a computer or smartphone–a whole world is shut off, limiting their access to information and opportunities.

Particularly in Europe, where 44 percent of Europeans lack basic digital skills, libraries are key to providing local tools and programs that teach those foundational skills. To help libraries provide welcoming spaces where people feel safe to learn, Public Libraries 2020 has partnered with Grow with Google in Europe, an initiative that has already helped over 4 million people Europeans grow their skills, and this year further pledged to help 1 million Europeans to find a job or grow their business by 2020.

Now, the Public Libraries 2020/Grow with Google partnership will help Europeans, from students to pensioners learn about digital skills, online safety and computer science. The digital toolkit titled “Libraries Lead with Digital” features ideas for how to run sessions on digital skills, online safety and computer science, and it’s currently in a pilot phase with ten libraries across the UK and Ireland. By helping librarians share ideas and resources with one another, public libraries will be able to run effective sessions that encourage participation from people who would be otherwise hard to reach.


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From youngsters to pensioners: Stockton Central Library hosts sessions on digital skills, online safety and coding utilizing resources from the Libraries Lead with Digital toolkit.

Library staff members in the pilot are helping residents respond to their local challenges. For example, they’re delivering extra trainings in rural areas like Norfolk; while in South Dublin there’s a drive to get more young people into STEM careers, making resources on coding particularly useful. The toolkit will help librarians share their knowledge with their colleagues, taking inspiration from the Google partnership already running with the American Library Association.

We’ve already gotten some inspiring feedback from those ten libraries leading the way in the UK and Ireland. In Stockton, librarian Katherine McDonagh said, “We’re reaching people who wouldn’t usually attend our regular sessions and most importantly showing people that your public library is just as relevant as ever.”

Author Neil Gaiman once described libraries as the “gates to the future.” With this new toolkit, Google and Public Libraries 2020 can help more people learn the digital skills and knowledge to feel confident as they step into that future, whatever it holds for them.

Helping people find Pathways to their next job through Search

Last year at I/O, we announced a newjob search experience so more people can find jobs that meet their needs. Since then, we’ve continued to improve and expand this experience. We’ve already helped connect over 100 million people in 92 countries to job listings, and we’re working to bring this feature to more countries by the end of the year.

We’ve also focused on this unique challenge in individual communities. A few weeks ago, we shared our commitment to help our nation’s military service members transition to civilian jobs with job search for veterans, a tool for service members to easily find civilian jobs that use the skills and experience they developed in their military roles.

But there’s more to be done. Forty percent of U.S. households struggle to afford ordinary expenses with their current income, while 46 percent of U.S. employers say they can't find employees with the skills they need. As industries change, a gap has formed in local communities: The skills in demand are not always the skills people have. And this gap is different in each community.  

We see an opportunity for Search to help bridge this gap by connecting job seekers with effective, nearby job training programs delivering the skills local employers need. So that’s the challenge we’re working to solve now: to help people find useful information about the skills and training they need for a job, and better connect them with local resources that can help them realize those opportunities. Here’s one story that inspired us along the way:

Introducing Pathways, an initiative to connect Americans to local training programs

We want to help create more stories like Aaron’s for people everywhere and believe these opportunities should be more discoverable online. That’s why today we’re announcing a new feature within job search called Pathways—part of our Grow with Googleinitiative to ensure economic opportunity for everyone.

Here’s our aspiration for how this will work: When someone searches for jobs on Google, we’ll show not only jobs available right now in their area, but also information about effective local training and education programs.  

We’re starting a pilot of Pathways in Virginia, where we’re partnering with leading organizations in this ecosystem including the State of Virginia, the Virginia Community College System, local employers, and many others to make these local programs more discoverable through Search.

We’re also piloting with Goodwill, the leading nonprofit job training provider in the U.S. As part of our Pathways initiative, volunteer Google engineers will work with local Goodwill organizations to ensure their education and training programs are easily found on the open web.

What we learn from these pilots will help us develop new features and ensure information about programs are readily accessible to everyone in the U.S., and more countries in the future. We want to enable communities to thrive, and make transitions like Aaron’s possible everywhere.

If your organization wants to collaborate and work together to bring this experience to life, join us.

Source: Search


Helping veterans make their next move in civilian life

For seven years, I served in the Air Force as a civil engineer. My job was to make sure our bases, like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan where I did three tours of duty, were technologically and logistically prepared for my fellow servicemen and women to do their duty in defense of our country.

When I transitioned out of the military in 2014, I asked myself a question that many service members know too well: “What am I going to do next?” For seven years, I had counted on the clear role and security net the military provided. Civilian life, to me, was unknown. Navigating job applications was new, and I remember feeling overwhelmed as I went to job fairs.

I’m fortunate to now work at Google where I’m a program manager for Google Cloud. Since working here, I’ve sought out ways to give back to the veteran community, and today, I’m proud to be part of a team that worked on a series of new tools and resources for transitioning military personnel, their spouses, and veterans.

Through Grow with Google, our initiative to help create opportunities for all Americans, we hope to use our technology to help veterans understand the full range of opportunities open to them across many different fields. Right now those opportunities are getting lost in translation. There isn’t a common language that helps recruiters match a veteran’s experience with the need for their skills and leadership in civilian jobs. As a result, 1 in 3 veterans—of the roughly 250,000 service members who transition out of the military each year—end up taking jobs well below their skill level.

Starting today, service members can search 'jobs for veterans' on Google and then enter their specific military job codes (MOS, AFSC, NEC, etc.) to see relevant civilian jobs that require similar skills to those used in their military roles. We’re also making this capability available to any employer or job board to use on their own property through our Cloud Talent Solution. As of today, service members can enter their military job codes on any career site using Talent Solution, including FedEx Careers, Encompass Health Careers, Siemens Careers, CareerBuilder and Getting Hired.

Rather than applying for a job at an existing company, some veterans might want to start their own—in fact, veteran-owned businesses make up almost 9 percent of all businesses in the U.S. To ensure these businesses are able to find customers who want to support veterans, we’re offering a new attribute through Google My Business, on Google Maps and Search mobile listings, for businesses to identify as veteran-owned or led.

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Service Brewing Co. is a vet-led small business in Savannah, GA

Learning digital skills is a big part of Grow with Google, so for transitioning military personnel, military spouses, and veterans who want to develop a new skill, Google.org is giving a grant to the USO (United Service Organizations) to provide training and career guidance in IT support. The $2.5 million grant will enable USO to incorporate the Google IT Support Professional Certificate into their programming.

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USO Pathfinder Scout with a transitioning military service member

I’m proud that my fellow veteran Googlers and I had the chance to provide input on these tools to make sure we’re best serving those who so dutifully served our country. Google is committed to creating opportunities for everyone, and with today’s announcements, we hope our technology can help make transitioning to civilian life a little bit easier.

Meet Abbie Turner: student, chihuahua owner and Android developer

Last year, we announced the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge in partnership with Udacity, as part of Grow with Google’s commitment to help people find a job or grow their business. Since then we've awarded more than 60,000 scholarships to aspiring coders in Europe, enabling them to develop expertise in mobile and web development. And in April, we selected 6,000 of the Challenge program's top performers to receive scholarships for a six-month Nanodegree hosted by Udacity.

Abbie Turner, 22, is one of these talented individuals, who will complete her Android Developer Nanodegree this summer. Abbie is a full-time undergraduate student at Sheffield Hallam University and will soon enter the final year of her software engineering degree. We caught up with her to find out how she's been getting on, and how the Google and Udacity Nanodegree has helped her land an internship placement with a local software business.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a quiet person but I love to socialize with my friends and family. I have a pet chihuahua called Blue, I'm a Disney fanatic, and I love Marvel movies and the BBC's “Sherlock” series. I absolutely love technology. I'm the only woman on my software engineering course at university, so it's just me and 300 boys.

How did you get into coding?

When I was 16, I had a week's work placement at a software company. I got to meet all the software engineers because we all shared a big open plan office. That was when I first had the idea of going into software. I've completed the first two years of my software engineering degree and just finished an internship with a Sheffield-based audio systems company called Cloud Electronics.

What impact has the Google Scholarship had on you professionally?

I got accepted into the Nanodegree program just before applying for my internship at Cloud Electronics. I included the Nanodegree on my CV, and it turns out that’s why I was selected for the placement.


For my internship, Cloud Electronics asked me to develop an Android app for its sound systems, to control the volume and playlists across different speakers from a mobile. It was quite daunting! The Android world changes so fast, but the Udacity courses are up-to-date and intuitively structured so I always knew where to look when I needed information or advice from a mentor. This made it much less stressful building the app for work and finding solutions to problems.

How did you manage to fit the Nanodegree in alongside studying and working?

I completed the Nanodegree while working at my year-long placement. I worked 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in their offices but dipped in and out of the Nanodegree course to learn what I needed to as I built the app for my internship. Effectively, I was being trained on the job by Google and Udacity. There are software engineers at Cloud Electronics, but the mobile app skills I was learning were new to the team. So it provided my employer with an opportunity too.

What has it been like connecting with other Google/Udacity scholars?

Being a woman in software engineering can be a bit lonely, but the Google and Udacity scholarship program provides a massive community. Being able to talk to other women who share my interests has been really great. We chat via a Slack channel all the time.

What do you do when you're not studying?

A few of us in the scholarship group recently organized a T-shirt competition. Everyone wanted the Google Udacity T-shirts that the engineers wear. So we set up a competition for Google scholars to submit their own designs and voted for our favorites. People can buy them, and all the money goes to charity. More than 350 T-shirts have been sold, and we've donated nearly $300 to We Care Africa, a charity promoting access to education for children in Africa. Google has given us this scholarship—this amazing opportunity—so we wanted to give something back.

What are your plans once you've finished studying?

Once I've finished my degree I want to get a job as a mobile developer in Sheffield. There are loads of developer jobs in Sheffield, Leeds and the surrounding area. Everyone has smartphones nowadays and, if you ask me, Android is where it's at!

Celebrating the 2018 DT50 Awards winners

This year, we joined forces again with McKinsey & Company and Rocket Internet to celebrate entrepreneurship in Europe through the second Digital Top 50 (DT50) awards. As part of our Grow with Google initiative to provide people with new digital opportunities, the DT50 awards recognize innovative European startups and scale-up business. The awards are given under the patronage of Mr. Carlos Moedas, Member of the European Commission, and supported by strategic partners INSEAD, Ashoka and Tech Open Air. 

With five awards across B2B and B2C categories, as well as a Tech for Social Impact category, this year’s winners were chosen through a rigorous three-part selection process—60 percent jury selection vote, 20 percent public vote online, and 20 percent jury vote in the final live pitches at the Tech Open Air Berlin event last month. 

We’re pleased to congratulate this year’s winners:

  • Winner B2B Startup:​Dashmote ​(Netherlands). Dashmote is an AI-powered platform that turns images into actionable market insights, identifying trends and increasing brand performance in both product development and marketing.

  • Winner B2B Scaleup:CornerJob ​(Spain). CornerJob is a mobile job matching platform that enables users to find geolocated job offers, providing a fast and simple recruitment process for both job seekers and employers.

  • Winner B2C Startup: Kaia Health ​(Germany). Kaia Health is a digital therapeutics company that uses AI-powered motion tracking technology through mobile apps to give people access to clinically proven back pain therapy.

  • Winner B2C Scaleup:​ TWINO ​(Latvia). TWINO is a marketplace lender and investment platform, and the first to introduce Peer-to-Peer lending to emerging markets such as Russia and Kazakhstan.

  • Winner Tech for Social Impact:​ Madaster ​(Netherlands). Madaster is an international public platform facilitating Material Passports, which track building resources in the real estate sector with the aim of minimizing waste, reducing the cost of material consumption and facilitating the reuse of materials.

Each of the 2018 winners will receive a prize package to help them increase business visibility and develop their brand, including workshops, invitations to exclusive events, consulting support and 1:1 mentoring sessions. Madaster, the winner of the Tech for Social Impact category, was awarded an additional cash prize of 50,000 euros.

The five winners this year all demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit and unique use of technology. It's precisely this kind of digital trailblazing that inspires our Grow with Google programs—and fuels our commitment to helping businesses and individuals grow and succeed in this promising digital climate.

Europe Code Week is here

Computer science fosters innovation, critical thinking and empowers students with the skills to create tools that solve major challenges. Yet there aren’t enough students who have access to opportunities to develop their technical skills. As part of our commitmentto help 1 million Europeans find a job or grow their business by 2020, we also need to invest in equipping the upcoming generation with the skills needed to master the jobs of the future. To do this, we’re encouraging students to get involved in and inspired by computer science. For the fifth year, we’re happy to be participating in Europe Code Week, a grassroots movement that encourages programming by showing how to bring ideas to life with code, demystifying computer science skills and bringing motivated people together to learn.


Part of our involvement in Code Week is providing funding to organizations who want to run computer science initiatives that give young people (aged 5-18) a chance to engage with some hands-on learning opportunities. Last year we funded 60 initiatives in 33 countries, giving over 56,000 students the chance to experience CS as part of these efforts. Organizations can apply for a grant of up to 8,000 EUR—please find details and the application form on the Code Week site.

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In Europe Code Week 2017, Association “Langas į ateitį” (Lithuania) organized seven events which introduced 460+ students to coding and trained 19 teachers. As a result, Kurmaičiai primary school initiated after-school IT activities for children and a monthly Micro Bit activity with a local robotics school.


Looking for some fun coding resources? Check out CS First, our free video-based coding curriculum for students ages 9-14. No coding experience required!

Building the workforce of the future: key learnings from Grow with Google

The world is rapidly digitizing, presenting huge opportunities for growth and jobs. However, many people in Europe and beyond lack the skills to take advantage of this. Inspired by the European Commission’s call for ideas to address this challenge—we committed to help, launching Grow with Google three years ago. Since then more than 4 million people in Europe and 3 million people in Africa have been through our programs, and in Europe, Grow with Google has created more than 220,000 new jobs or business opportunities. This March, we renewed our commitment to the EU Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, with a pledge to help a further one million people in Europe find a job or grow their business by 2020.

The digital skills challenge is one that many organizations and governments are focused on, and we want to share what we’ve learned. We asked the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to independently review Grow with Google's approach to digital skills training. They looked at six countries: France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Spain and Sweden. Here’s what they found:


Partnership between companies, government and civil society is vital.

Our partnerships with governments, city councils, universities, private-sector businesses and nonprofits have enabled us to gain trust with participants, learn from others' expertise, and increase the reach and relevance of our programs. In Italy, Crescere in Digitale, a partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Chamber of Commerce, has initiated more than 3,000 internships for young unemployed people at SMBs to date. About 30 percent of those who completed internships are now employed.


Programs must be tailored to meet local contexts and needs.

A “one size fits all” format is unlikely to work well. Programs need to be designed to meet national needs and often work best when there is scope for further local tailoring. Grow with Google is localized in each country, working with local partners, to maximize relevance and results. In Spain, where unemployment is the biggest issue affecting youth, we recently launched a digital skills employment program with the government. In Greece, where tourism is the top economic pillar, we’ve partnered with the government to offer free digital skills training to people working in the tourism sector.  


Providing skills for the future is as important as providing skills for immediate use.

Organizations and people need skills to help improve short-term outcomes. However, future-proofing the workforce is as important as bridging the digital skills gap now. As the demand for a specific skill set is continuously changing, we’ve added new components to our trainings, expanding the initial digital marketing modules with new content on privacy and security, as well as soft business skills. In parallel, we always strive to keep our training materials up to date with emerging topics such as machine learning.


Programs should address the needs of a diverse audience and challenge traditional assumptions.

Many people assume that it’s mostly young men who are interested in learning about digital. Our experience has taught us that this is not the case: More than 40 percent of the people who have taken our training so far are women. In Germany, we continue to work with Fraunhofer IAIS on their Open Roberta program, teaching young women how to code. Our trainings are also suitable for a wide range of age groups—from students to pensioners—and challenge the preconception that unemployed people are unlikely to become digital experts. In Sweden we’ve developed training with the National Employment Agency to help unemployed people learn to build a web presence, use Search to find jobs, get tips to enhance their CV, and use social media.


Platform agnosticism is important.

Grow with Google lessons not only cover Google products and services, but also products and tools offered by other providers. This means that the training is as current and relevant to participant needs as possible.

These independent recommendations and others from IPPR are available on IPPR’s website, and will inform our digital skills work going forward. We hope they also provide useful guidance to our partners and other skills providers, governments and NGOs across the region who are all devoted to building the workforce of the future.

A father-son business is creating jobs, and spreading happiness, through socks

In 2016, Mark and John Cronin started a company with a unique mission: spreading happiness through socks. It was inspired by John's love for colorful socks, or what he calls his “crazy socks.” John has Down syndrome, and when he graduated high school, he wanted to go into business with his dad. And so, John’s Crazy Socks was born.

Like many retail businesses, selling socks is a seasonal business. So to expand their customer base year-round, John and Mark turned to advertising online. Since then, the company has soared. They now ship more than 1,500 orders a day to 44 countries and employ 35 people, 16 of whom have different capabilities. The company donates 5 percent of their earnings to the Special Olympics and supports a variety of other charity partners.  

Watch the video to learn more about how John and Mark are spreading happiness through socks, and check out google.com/retail to learn how retail businesses can grow with the help of Google.

The web is working for American businesses: stories of economic impact across the U.S.

The web is making it possible for U.S. businesses to grow and succeed. Digital tools create significant opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses. In fact, digital small businesses are growing faster, reaching more customers and were nearly three times as likely to have created jobs over the previous year.


In 2017, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $283 billion of economic activity for businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits across the U.S. Our 2017 Economic Impact Report shares that economic impact state-by-state as well as stories of local businesses that are fueling that growth, creating jobs, and transforming their communities. Here are some of those stories:  


American Hats

After more than three decades of working as a social worker, Georgiette Morgan-Thomas put off her plans for retirement and purchased the S & S Hat Company in Philadelphia, PA when it announced its closure in 2015. She assured the employees that she would fight to keep it alive. Together with her son, Robert, she started American Hats in 2016, and turned to Google’s search and advertising tools to help reinvigorate the business, which was good news for the workers. “People are just flying through the door now, and we’re even shipping across the country,” says Georgiette. “Our employees have been with this factory for 20 to 30 years. They're the original team that made S & S Hat so outstanding in the first place.”
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American Hats in Philadelphia, PA

Merz Apothecary

Merz Apothecary in Chicago, IL has been home to a rich collection of unique, hard-to-find goods from all over the world since 1875. “We’re not your traditional pharmacy,” says co-owner Anthony Qaiyum. “We carry everything from natural remedies to grooming products to home fragrances. People always say: ‘If you can’t find it at Merz, you won’t find it anywhere else!’”


Two decades after they took their first online order in 1997, Merz Apothecary has a thriving e-commerce operation serving 35,000 customers a year. The company shares product reviews on their YouTube channel, and special sales via Posts on their Google My Business listings. And with Google Search and AdWords, they reach customers anywhere in the world. Since Anthony joined the family business full-time in 2000, they went from 12 employees to 60. “As the owner of Merz, I feel like I’m the caretaker of a piece of history. And I take that duty very seriously,” says Anthony. “I want to leave this business better and stronger than it was when I joined.”

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Merz Apothecary in Chicago, IL

Carousel Designs

Jonathan Hartley’s parents founded Carousel Designs in Douglasville, GA in 1988, manufacturing baby bedding for other retailers. As the cut and sew industry moved overseas, Jonathan realized that the family business would need to innovate in order to stay competitive. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he and his former classmate, Allan Sicat, bought the company in 2007. They began marketing their products directly to consumers, using AdWords to connect with customers and Google Analytics to improve their online shopping experience. Carousel Designs now offers thousands of nursery decor options to customers across the U.S. and Canada, and employs nearly 70 people. “It’s something we’re very proud of,” Allan adds. “Not only being made in the USA, but also being able to create these opportunities right here in Douglasville.”

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Carousel Designs in Douglasville, GA

As you can see from these stories, the web is working for American businesses large and small. Check out more stories of businesses growing with the web.

Supporting bold ideas for creating a social safety net

We believe that technology has the power to connect people, create opportunities, and inspire change. But we also understand that changes in technology can mean significant changes in our economy and our society, risking leaving some without the right tools or skill set to adapt. That’s why, as part of our efforts to ensure that technology serves everyone, we’re supporting programs that help people prepare for a new economic future. For example, people can use Grow with Google to acquire the skills they need to get their next job. And Walmart and Google.org recently announced a new partnership to promote new approaches to skill-building.


Learning new skills to find a job or start a business is important, but that’s only the beginning. As we see changes in the labor market—more freelancers, changes in benefits, and declining economic mobility— we need to support new policy ideas. We can go beyond a social safety net to a social “trampoline.” People should be able to bounce back from challenges, reach higher, and feel empowered to take steps to improve their careers and get better, richer and more meaningful jobs.


That is why as part of our $50 million Future of Work initiative, Google.org is announcing $2.5 million in funding to four nonprofit organizations working on innovative solutions to employment. The projects will work with people both inside and outside traditional employment—whether a budding entrepreneur, a freelancer, or someone who’s self-employed—to help them grow their sources of income and flexible benefits. Some of the projects may surprise you; they dive into new territory for us. But we see these grants as the beginning of a conversation on how we can collectively enhance opportunity for everyone.


Prototyping new portable benefits for low-wage workers: The Workers Lab is using Google’sdesign sprint methodology to design and prototype a new product that will deliver a portable benefit in the form of emergency funding for low-earning contractors and low-wage workers. Through this process, The Workers Lab will partner with leading gig platforms to test and scale this solution. This grant is co-funded with theRockefeller Foundation.


Understanding and improving the social safety net for freelance workers:The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative is coming up with new tools to help understand and administer support programs for gig workers. With Google.org’s support, Aspen is building a new digital resource that provides researchers, policymakers, and journalists with a one-stop shop for data about the gig workforce, while developing tools to help launch benefit programs geared to this growing business model.  


Researching how to make the Earned Income Tax Credit work for more people:The Economic Security Project is researching how to modernize the Earned Income Tax Credit, which forms a key part of the social safety net. The research is looking at increasing expanding the credit further into the middle class, recognizing and rewarding unpaid work by covering caregivers and students, and offering an option to receive the credit on a monthly basis. With Google.org’s support, the Economic Security Project is looking at the cost and feasibility of these changes.


Using digital tools to experiment with new ways of organizing businesses:Co-operative businesses allow workers to pool resources, find clients, and mitigate the risks of working as independent contractors and gig workers. TheNew School’s Platform Co-op Consortium will partner with the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University to develop the Platform Co-op Development Kit, a platform to help people start just these kinds of co-operative businesses.


These organizations are at the front lines of creating a more resilient and responsive social contract. What we learn from their investments will help give policymakers new ideas and models and ideas that we hope can be applied more broadly. We look forward to sharing the results of these projects, and to being part of the conversation.