Google is attempting to overturn the bleak economic reality facing hundreds of thousands of black women in the US with its new initiative providing black women with career development and digital skills.
Last Friday, the 23-year old tech giant launched The Grow With Google Black Women Lead partnership program, which sees it team up with six organisations including Dress For Success, The Links, a non-profit volunteer service, and four National Panhellenic Sororities — the umbrella group for international autonomous, women’s-only social organisations.
The program will see more than 100,000 black women given assistance with resume building, interview training and fundamentals of online marketing.
Dress for Success, an international NGO that aims to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools, will support the effort by providing mentorship and networking opportunities.
Melonie Parker, Google’s Chief Diversity Officer, believes the skills offered in the program will enhance the career prospects for many black women.
“Google is proud to stand with Dress for Success, the Links, and four of the National Panhellenic Sororities to help more Black women get access to the digital skills and career development needed to enter today’s most in-demand jobs,” she said in a statement.
“The pandemic has resulted in unemployment for millions of Americans, and its impacts are further revealing the economic opportunity gaps that still exist for Black women.”
“I am grateful to the leaders of these organisations, who are uniting for the first time with the shared goal of up-skilling 100,000 Black women with digital skills. Their legacy, expertise and credibility will help ensure we accomplish this mission,” she continued.
In December 2020, Black women lost 154,000 jobs in the U.S, according to Black Enterprise, a black-owned multimedia company based in New York City.
Glenda Glover, President of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority based in Chicago, believes the partnership will ensure black women are prepared for new opportunities in the future.
“Alpha Kappa Alpha strives to exemplify excellence by building sustainable pipelines for education and development,” she said.
“By mobilising our membership of 1,026 chapters, we are helping prepare them for new educational opportunities, otherwise not easily available.”
Glover, who is also the president of Tennessee State University, recently spoke to CBS News about the importance of black people’s education, especially black women.
“I think that engagement, that civic engagement, the leadership qualities that we instill in young ladies,” she said. “… the first obligation is always to your educational pursuit while you’re in college, but you must also have this yearning to serve.”
Last year, Google committed $175 million to racial equity initiatives, including $100 million towards Black venture capital firms and startups.
A further $50 million was geared towards funding grants for small businesses focused on the Black community.