Google announced on Thursday that it is launching a “Grow with Google Career Readiness for Reentry” program designed to offer job readiness and digital skill training for former prisoners.
The Grow with Google Career Readiness for Reentry program was created in partnership with the nonprofit organizations, including The Ladies of Hope Ministries (LOHM), Center for Employment Opportunities, Defy Ventures, Fortune Society, and The Last Mile, according to a blog post by LOHM founder Topeka Sam.
In her post, Sam says that “more than 600,000 people make the transition from prisons to the community each year” in the United States, and that “many face systemic barriers to entering the workforce.”
“The unemployment rate for people impacted by incarceration is five times the national average,” writes Sam, who goes on to claim that “systemic racism in the justice system” makes it so that black people are “disproportionately” affected with regards to higher unemployment rates.
“Additionally, 82% of middle-skill jobs in the U.S. require digital proficiency, but many incarcerated individuals lack digital literacy after being removed from technology in prison,” Sam adds.
Google and the nonprofits are seeking to train more than 10,000 ex-cons on “digital skills they can use to get a job or start businesses.”
Sam also noted that the program is part of a broader initiative at Google, which includes more than $40 million in grants to criminal justice reform nonprofits.
“Lack of access to digital skills training and job coaching puts formerly incarcerated individuals at a severe disadvantage when trying to reenter the workforce and increase their economic potential,” said YouTube’s Global Head of Human Rights Malika Saada Saar in a statement, according to a report by TechCrunch.
“We are thrilled to work alongside program partners who have demonstrated true expertise and leadership in supporting successful reentry through digital skills training to men and women, mothers and fathers, impacted by incarceration,” Saar added.