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From the 4th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Grow with Google

Entered in Education

About this entry

The nature of work is fundamentally changing. This, in turn, is shifting the link between education, training, and opportunity. The Economist found that less than half of 18- to 25-year-olds believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter today’s workforce, and one-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today.

At Google, we believe that the Internet is a powerful equalizer, capable of propelling ideas and people forward. In 2017, we started Grow with Google, an initiative to create economic opportunity for anyone in America by providing the tools and training they need to get a job, for free. In just two years, Grow with Google has criss-crossed America, supporting more than three million Americans looking to advance their digital skills. As the initiative gained traction, we wondered what a more permanent learning space might look like, particularly in the communities Google calls home.

Even though tech is one of the fastest growing fields in the city, some New Yorkers are being left behind, which is an important reason why we wanted to bring Grow with Google for an extended stop in New York City. As an active member of this community, Google has a unique opportunity to support our neighborhood small business and community members. This is our first extended tour stop, and the only one we have in the works thus far.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

We're proud to have opened the Grow with Google Learning Center in New York City, home to Google’s largest office outside of California. We started in the city nearly 20 years ago with a few Googlers working out of a Starbucks on 86th Street; today, New York City is home to over 7,000 employees across three buildings. As we grow our own presence in New York, we have a responsibility to support the neighborhoods and communities we call home. That means supporting the infrastructure and services that make our neighborhoods unique places to work, live, and play. 

Opened just a few months ago in April 2019 on the ground floor of Google’s NYC headquarters in Manhattan, the Grow with Google NYC Learning Center is designed to provide fellow New Yorkers — job seekers, business owners, veterans, students, and educators —with access to digital skills training they need to thrive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) digital economy. The program draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow.

Open to everyone, the Learning Center offers free hands-on workshops, classes in partnership with community organizations, one-on-one coaching, and is a welcoming space for local organizations to congregate and hold events. The 11,000 square foot space houses study areas, three classrooms, and offers multiple classes per day, six days a week.

From workshops like Coding for Kids (ages 5-9) to Optimize Your Ad Campaigns with Advanced Strategies, programming is geared towards a diverse set, and Googler experts are on hand several hours a week to answer specific questions from individual learners. The Learning Center is proud to partner with a range of more than 75 local community organizations including Goodwill, Per Scholas, Hudson Guild, and many others, as helping our partners achieve their mission is vital to achieving ours.

With an overarching strategy to help to create economic opportunity by offering free digital skills training in partnership with the local community, Grow with Google NYC is proud to have welcomed tens of thousands of New Yorkers (as well as visitors from other states and countries) to the space in just five months since opening.


To help foster New York’s burgeoning tech ecosystem, Google has historically funded programs like MotherCoders NYC, provided space to organizations like Black Girls Code, and hosted Cornell Tech while its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island was under construction. 

The Grow with Google NYC Learning Center is the next chapter in our commitment to helping create economic opportunity and, in doing so, strengthening our ties to our neighborhood and the five boroughs. 

Since opening in April, the GwG NYC Learning Center has exceeded expectations. With more than 40,000 visitors, classes fill quickly, student enrollment has surpassed initial goals, and more than a third of our students return to take another class. Our most popular classes are our small business and digital basics classes including: Make Your Website Work for You, Get Your Business Online, Digital Skills for Everyday Tasks, and Bring Digital Skills to Your Classroom.

Every day we deepen our commitment by working with dozens of community partners to bring digital skills to all New Yorkers. Not only does the space host classes six days a week, but it has quickly become a meeting space for community organizations and a destination for groups like the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, NY Urban League, NYC Tech Alliance, and more.

Google helped provide $49.4 billion of economic activity for 106,000 New York businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits in 2018. We hope to surpass $50 billion this year with the addition of the GwG NYC Learning Center.


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