Ronn TorossianRonn Torossian

Google has been fighting a bit of an image problem lately, having recently become the latest tech company to face scrutiny over Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign. Some recent news, however, may help the search giant claw its way back into some consumers’ good graces.

One of the biggest issues people complain about — even skilled college graduates in highly-competitive industries — is the inability to find a job in their field or one that pays a decent wage. To help curb this problem, Google has pledged to donate about a billion dollars over the next five years to help with job training and connecting job seekers with companies that can put their skills to work.

The investment will be made through grants distributed to a group of hand-picked nonprofits across the world. These organizations reportedly specialize in addressing gaps in education and technology.

But donating to international nonprofits is not the only way Google is getting involved in helping people find work. The “Grow with Google” program is a US-based initiative that’s being undertaken to help people with job training and digital skills training.

In announcing the program, a Google spokesman said: “We recognize that there are large gaps in opportunity across the US … These are tough gaps. For instance, the nature of work is fundamentally changing. And that is shifting the link between education, training and opportunity.”

Google hopes to be a major player in bridging this gap and linking these efforts together in a way that can make a dent in the issue for this generation and for generations to come.

The “generations to come” portion of this effort is a major concern for those looking at the changing face of the workforce in the modern world. Technology is rendering many formerly lucrative jobs obsolete. Factories are automating fast, as are other industries. The next generation of American workers will need skills that the current system is not equipped to produce … at least that’s the estimate by people who watch these trends for a living.

According to some measures, more than ten million U.S. jobs could be lost to automation in the next decade. That means millions of young adults entering the workforce today won’t have jobs they have the skills for before they reach the age of 30.

By taking the lead on closing the education and skills gap, Google could go from being a tech company to a global powerhouse in workforce development. It’s an interesting move for a brand that has been struggling to keep consumers happy in recent months. If it’s successful, it will certainly place Google in a prime spot to define the second half of the 21st century.


Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR firm.