NY Orgs And Google Offer Digital Training For Those Impacted By Incarceration

November 17, 2022

Today, nine organizations from Harlem to Hollis announced they are working with Google to provide digital skills programs.

The programs are to advance economic opportunities for people impacted by incarceration. In June, Google shared its invested $4 million toward a new fund that aims to expand its justice reform work.

Over 500 nonprofit organizations across the country applied to receive support from the fund, and the nine organizations in New York were selected by Google based on their history of helping people who have been impacted by incarceration receive training, career resources, and job placement support.

The nine New York organizations are:

“We now live in a digital world,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie. “As technology advances, equipping people who have been impacted by incarceration gives them access to careers in a growing field. It also assists in ensuring that the familial structure is secure, giving opportunities to provide for one’s family. Grow with Google is an amazing program, and I am happy to witness the good it has done and will continue to do in often overlooked communities.”

More than 600,000 Americans leave incarceration each year and face higher jobless rates than the U.S. average. The lack of technology in prison creates further barriers to employment, as digital skills are increasingly essential in the current job market. The nine organizations selected in New York will use the new funding to integrate Google’s digital skills curriculum into existing programming, with the goal of helping people impacted by incarceration learn skills for today’s jobs. 

“As we work to create a more inclusive economy, we’re committed to helping people impacted by incarceration access training for today’s jobs,” said Tia McLaurin, Senior Manager, Grow with Google. “We’re proud to work with outstanding partners to ensure more people can qualify for great jobs and create a new beginning for themselves and their families.”

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“The most important tool a justice-involved person can have is knowledge. Knowledge of one’s self, knowledge of one’s environment and knowledge of tools. The Google Digital Skills Training is a critical tool that will help sisters and brothers become competent and confident with technology in order to successfully transition into workforce, educational, and social spaces. The LOHM is a proud co-founder and excited to scale this tool into Federal State and Local Prisons and Jails across the country,” said Dr. Topeka K Sam, Founder & CEO of The Ladies of Hope Ministries, INC. 

The selected organizations will use Google digital skills curriculum that was co-curated with five nonprofits — The Last Mile, Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Defy Ventures, Fortune Society and The Ladies of Hope Ministries. The program’s training includes five learning paths that Google developed in collaboration with nonprofit partners: (1) Getting Started with the Basics, (2) Job Search, (3) Job Readiness, (4) Online Safety, and (5) “Next Step” Job Readiness Skills. Lessons vary from fundamental digital skills such as how to apply for jobs online and create a resumé, to more advanced topics including entrepreneurship and business budgeting. Partners will integrate this curriculum into their existing programs to help people develop skills that will help them get a job or start a business.

“In today’s job market digital skills are necessary to be successfully employed,” said Samra Haider, President of CEO. “Our partnership with Google has allowed us to integrate foundational digital skills into our program delivery so that thousands of our participants are fully prepared for employment and career advancement.”

Since launching in April 2021, Grow with Google’s justice-impacted program has helped more than 90,000 people impacted by incarceration obtain digital skills. To date, Google has given over $48 million in Google.org grants and committed 50,000 pro bono hours to advance criminal justice reform. Learn more about how Google is expanding access to digital skills training to support individuals who have been impacted by incarceration: grow.google/justice-impacted

“The digital divide in justice-impacted communities is exponentially magnified. We are grateful to partner with Grow With Google to begin building a pipeline for justice-impacted individuals to become active digital citizens. The infusion of technology skills participants will receive through this endeavor will be a major catalyst to ensure they can participate fully within the new digital economy and in turn see a generational shift from impoverishment to thriving,” said Rev. Maurice Winley, Founder & President/CEO of Living Redemption.

“Building digital skills is critical for restoring the self-confidence of people reentering and increasing their chances of success in finding employment,” said Archana Jayaram, President & CEO of Osborne Association. “This funding will remove a major obstacle to that success and enhance the programming we offer to justice-impacted people as they seek a fresh start.”

Grow with Google

Grow with Google was started in 2017 to help Americans grow their skills, careers, and businesses. It provides training, tools and expertise to help small business owners, veterans and military families, jobseekers and students, educators, startups, and developers.

Since Grow with Google’s inception, it has helped more than nine million Americans develop new skills. Grow with Google has a network of more than 8,500 partner organizations like libraries, schools, small business development centers, chambers of commerce, and nonprofits to help people coast-to-coast. 

Photo credit: https://thelohm.org/

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