WICHITA, KAN. — Goodwill Industries of Kansas, Inc. has partnered with Google, Inc. to provide digital skills training and supportive service referrals. The Goodwill Digital Career AcceleratorSM is a national program made possible by a $10 million grant from Google and volunteer assistance from 1,000 Google employees. Over the next three years, the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator will result in more than 1 million people around the United States being trained in skills that will make them more marketable workers in the digital age.
Goodwill Industries of Kansas will use $300,000 in grant funds from Google to create the mobile “Learn IT” (Information Technology) lab. An additional $90,000 is being sought from community donors to cover startup costs. The lab will be contained in a recreational vehicle and will feature a dozen computer stations, a full library of Google-based resources, virtual classroom technology and individual coaching to ensure all participants learn professional-grade digital literacy skills. Aimed at adults, the lab will work with community agencies before arriving at an area. Once there, participants will learn on-site and be given online access to continue their learning, utilizing referral services in the area such as public libraries, local colleges and workforce centers, for example.
Digital skills include basic computer skills that would be used to establish an email address, apply for a job or perform many entry-level tasks. More advanced digital skills include computer support or programming, digital marketing and cybersecurity, which are increasingly relevant for achieving well-paying, in-demand careers across the country.
“Due to the large geographic area which we operate, we wanted to find a way to deliver services outside of our home office area,” said Emily Compton, President/CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kansas, Inc. “We know there is a need in rural areas for training also. This initiative allows us to get participants up-to-date on digital skills and, in turn, in a better position to advance in today’s labor market.”
Goodwill Industries of Kansas is already known for its partnership to provide GED completion, English Language Acquisition, and career development through NexStep Alliance. Goodwill was also instrumental in the creation of the Future Maker Mobile Learning Lab, which is traveling the state introducing science, technology, engineering and math to high school sophomores.
About Goodwill Industries of Kansas, Inc.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Goodwill Industries of Kansas provides opportunities for people with disabilities and barriers to employment seeking independent and productive lives. Hundreds of people with disabilities receive case management services and develop life and job skills through employment at Goodwill’s home office and in the community. Whether it be recycling donated items or preparing insulation for local aviation manufacturers, Goodwill clients and employees have found success and become more independent through work in our contracts division. More than 1,200 adults work toward their GED and other certificate programs through NexStep Alliance, a partnership between Goodwill and Wichita Area Technical College. These programs are supported by 19 retail stores in Kansas along with an online division at shopgoodwill.com/ks. For more information about Goodwill, visit goodwillks.org.
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