Google.org Commits $50 Million to “Future of Work” Program

google.org

Technology not only changes how we do things in our lives, it also changes the way we do things.  More specifically, it can create jobs.  But it can also make certain jobs redundant.  That means there is a gap when it comes to the jobs people can do, and what we need them to do.  Enter Google.  Google.org has launched a $50 million initiative to prepare job seekers for the “future of work”.  When I first saw that headline, I was kind of confused.  Are we telling people what it’s going to be like once you get into the workforce?  Cause, I mean, I could take your $50 million and give a very good speech on that.  Or are you actually preparing people for the workforce?

The short answer is neither.  Google.org is pledging these funds to come up with “ways to better anticipate and understand what the world’s fast-changing workforce will need in the years to come and how technology can help produce positive outcomes”.  Meaning, they are wanting to help address those gaps.  What was missing from this announcement is what technological sector is creating these gaps.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Google.org, they are an organization that has “supported nonprofits around the globe that provide underserved people with the skills and connections they need to secure new opportunities and jobs”.  The announcement from Google.org goes on to say, “today we’re announcing a $50 million initiative to help people prepare for the changing nature of work. This two-year commitment will fund nonprofits focused on this issue, with our first grantees in the U.S. and Europe; we have plans to expand to other regions soon. These organizations will also be able to draw on Googlers’ volunteer time for technical advice.”

google.org

If I’m understanding this correctly, and honestly I’m a bit confused – Google is going to help people gain the skills they need to fill these jobs.  Which sounds great on the outset.  And access to this kind of funding would really make an impact in this area.  But overall the program is confusing.  They work with non-profit organizations in order to help train and educate people.  Again, all great, but how does regular Joe Public get involved with one of these groups?

There is an idea that currently jobs are too specialized, and people don’t have the skills to fill them.  This makes sense to me.  So is the gap that people aren’t being given these skills, or the opportunity to develop these skills through traditional education systems?  Or is the issue that people don’t have access to traditional education systems?  If the former, then some of this money should be spent trying to make changes within the education system.  If the latter, then maybe what Google is doing will have an impact.  In general, I think that this is a good idea.  But the information about the program or how to access it seems to be really confusing.  Or non-existent.  It would be helpful to gain a better understanding of the cause, if we had a clearer understanding of what the issues are.