Google Pledges $1 Billion to Help Prepare the Workforce for Automation

The search engine titan is launching Grow with Google, a new initiate aimed at training those both experienced and inexperienced in different sectors of the digital industry.

Robots -- people either want to embrace a future with automation or flee from it. The tensions have spread into society as the threat of "computers stealing jobs" persists as an idea. Last year, a report by the World Economic Forum came out claiming that robots could replace up to 5 million jobs with automation by 2020. Many of those already established in the workforce aren’t fluent in things like coding, mobile apps, and social media.

"To prevent a worst-case scenario -- technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment, and growing inequality -- reskilling and upskilling of today's workers will be critical," WEF founder Klaus Schwab and board member Richard Samans explained in the report titled, “The Future of Jobs.”

To combat this, Google has introduced a new initiative for those in the US and around the world, called Grow with Google. This project aims to help people develop new skills in the world of technology, which is quickly taking over the workforce.

Google Pledges $1 Billion to Help Prepare the Workforce for Automation
Source: Pixabay

“We understand there’s uncertainty and even concern about the pace of technological change. But we know that technology will be an engine of America’s growth for years to come, said Google CEP Sundar Pichai at an event in Pittsburgh this week.

Though Grow with Google is primarily aimed at the United States, the company also plans to donate a grant of $1 billion to non-profits throughout the world.

“Google.org will use its philanthropic expertise to fund organizations working in three areas: closing the world’s education gap, helping people prepare for the changing nature of work, and ensuring that no one is excluded from opportunity,”

One program offers a 50,000 Udacity Scholarship Challenge which is targeted to helping developers receive the training they require to enter the workforce as Android or mobile web developers. The courses are unique in that they cater to both experienced programmers and novices looking for a career change or start.

In fact, half the scholarships offered are specifically for aspiring developers with no experience, while the other set is aimed at those with more than one year of experience. The top 5,000 students at the completion of the challenge will earn a full Nanodegree scholarship to one of the four Nanodegree programs in Android or web development.

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The initiative is going to tour the country in the next few months to provide hands-on training. Additionally, a thousand Google employees will help train 1.2 million people over the next three years. This program sprung from a partnership with Goodwill; Google donated $10 million to get it up and running.

While it must be said, that much of Google’s technology is probably going to replace human workers in the next few decades, they also recognize this fact and aim to create a balance.

“The nature of work is fundamentally changing,” Pichai said in a blog post. “It’s a big problem and, at Google, whenever we see a big problem, we ask how we can make it easier for everyone to solve it.”

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