CHARLOTTE – Thanks to a hefty gift from Google, Goodwill is expanding its digital skills training to offer advanced IT courses for those looking to land tech jobs.
On April 13, officials from Google announced a $300,000 grant to Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont. Money will be used to broaden the free computer literacy courses offered by the organization’s training division, Goodwill University.
“This is a monumental gift,” Charlotte City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield said. “Charlotte is poised to grow in status as a hub for technology and innovation.”
The new classes, which include Office 365 (Cloud Computing), Intro to Web Development and Design, A+/Helpdesk Support, Salesforce Academy and Code Immersion, will provide industry-recognized credentials for more than 825 eligible individuals in the Charlotte region over the next three years. Some of the courses have already begun or are set to start this spring.
The Charlotte-area Goodwill is one of 125 Goodwills nationwide to receive money from Google as part a $10 million investment called Grow with Google. The new initiative aims to help create economic opportunity for Americans by closing the digital divide.
Google’s Lilyn Hester said the tech giant chose Goodwill as its partner because the organization has a “known history of being a workforce nonprofit” and is deeply rooted in the communities it serves.
“We decided we could fill those gaps [in the digital divide] by providing those services with a partner and Goodwill was that partner bar nun,” Hester said. “Who knows? Maybe we will see our next Google creative from this talent pool.”
Alex Orange, of south Charlotte, plans to benefit from the new courses. He already graduated from the customer, administrative and business services training program, and is now looking to get certified in cyber security.
He hopes to one day land his dream job of being a software analyst, but the courses he needs can cost hundreds of dollars. Good thing Goodwill is now offering even more advanced IT classes for free, he said.
“It means a lot,” Orange said. “It puts anybody who wants this opportunity in a position to actually get it.”