As part of Second Chance Month, Google is announcing the Grow with Google Career Readiness for Reentry Program, a new initiative to bring digital skills and job readiness training to formerly incarcerated individuals in California. In California, Grow with Google is partnering with five nonprofits — The Last Mile, Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Defy Ventures — that have proven track records for developing and delivering high-quality job reentry training. The program will train 10,000 across the country by the end of 2021.
Grow with Google and Nonprofit Partners Created New Digital Skills Lessons to Help Formerly Incarcerated Individual Reenter the Job Market
Each year, 600,000 Americans transition out of incarceration, and in California, 23% of state prisoners were released in 2020. After release, these individuals face an unemployment rate that is five times the national average, with jobless rates particularly impacting Black individuals. Additionally, 82 percent of middle-skill jobs in the United States require digital skills, making the employment process challenging for the reentry population who often lose access to technology in prison. The Grow with Google Career Readiness for Reentry program will help prepare individuals with the skills they need to reenter the workforce or start a business.
“Lack of access to digital skills training and job coaching puts formerly incarcerated individuals at a severe disadvantage when trying to reenter the workforce and increase their economic potential,” said Malika Saada Saar, Global Head of Human Rights at YouTube, a subsidiary of Google. “We are thrilled to work alongside program partners who have demonstrated true expertise and leadership in supporting successful reentry through digital skills training to men and women, mothers and fathers, impacted by incarceration.”
Grow with Google collaborated with the program’s nonprofit partners to identify the needs of the reentry population, resulting in five Learning Paths designed to help the reentry population: (1) Getting Started with the Basics, (2) Job Search, (3) Job Readiness, (4) Online Safety, and (5) “Next Step” Job Readiness Skills. In addition to lessons together, partners will integrate new lessons into their existing job readiness programs, and will also provide job placement support for paid apprenticeships and entrepreneur-in-residence programs.
In California specifically, this program builds on Google’s legacy of investing in reentry programs. In 2015, Google.org provided grant funds to support the Center for Employment Opportunities’ expansion to the South Bay and launch a new Defy Ventures site in San Francisco. Google volunteers helped Defy graduates by providing resume reviews and mock interviews with formerly incarcerated individuals. In 2019, Google.org invested in The Last Mile, expanding its coding program to young people at Stockton’s Juvenile Correctional Facility. For the last two years, Google volunteers have taught coding to The Last Mile’s students through remote instruction and in-person, helped to develop TLM’s accessibility and young learners curriculums, and have also supported Californians impacted by the justice system to clear their records through Code for America.
Any nonprofit organization offering training to the reentry population can join the Grow with Google Partner Program and access resources, workshop materials, and hands-on help, free of cost.