Google Launches Fund with Goal to Drive $1 Billion in Aggregate Wage Gains for American Jobseekers

February 17, 2022

The Google Career Certificates Fund will support Social Finance and its nonprofit training partners, including Merit America and Year Up. The initiative will upskill and place thousands of Americans into well-paying jobs.

Mountain View, CA—Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo together announced the launch of a $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund. Through its support of Social Finance, the Fund aims to drive $1 billion in aggregate wage gains for more than 20,000 Americans through Certificates, which equip people with job-ready skills in fields like Data Analytics, IT Support, Project Management, and UX Design within 3-6 months—with no degree or experience required. Social Finance will deploy Google capital and Google.org grants to Merit America, Year Up, and other nonprofit training providers.  The nonprofits will provide learners with wraparound services such as professional coaching, interview prep, job placement assistance, and living stipends to support essentials like housing, child care and transportation

“We are excited to support Social Finance to help expand economic opportunity for more Americans with our new $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet. “This innovative funding model brings together digital skills training and support services to connect more Americans to high-growth, high-paying jobs. We hope it will be transformative for people, their families, and their communities.”

“The Biden administration is laser-focused on creating good-paying jobs for American workers, and it is especially important for us to come up with creative solutions that enable women and parents to fully participate in our economy,” said Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce. “Top business leaders understand that investments like child care are fundamentally investments that enable people to work. That’s good for workers, it’s good for the economy, and it’s good for business. I look forward to continue working with Google and its partners behind this innovative program to help families get ahead.”

The initiative uses a student-friendly financing model, where there are no upfront costs for learners to participate. Learners only repay program costs via no-interest, low monthly payments if they secure jobs making at least $40,000 annually. Social Finance will reinvest repayments back into the program for several years to enable more learners to benefit. Through the initiative, Google aims to catalyze and encourage others in the industry to make training more affordable and accessible for Americans.  

MDRC, an independent third-party, will validate the wage gains the program aims to create at scale, assess the program’s effectiveness in creating economic mobility, and develop a body of research to validate these types of financing structures for future workforce development initiatives. 

“What would you do if you knew the risk of failure was next to zero, with the only costs being your time, hard work, and commitment?” said Tracy Palandjian, CEO and co-founder of Social Finance. “This innovative program, the most student-friendly financing of this scale, eliminates the financial risks for learners pursuing new career paths. As the manager for the investment program, Social Finance’s role is to ensure that learners build skills to match the needs of today’s economy—and realize life-changing wage gains.”

Social Finance selected the inaugural training providers, Merit America and Year Up based on their previous success delivering results for historically underserved job seekers. In addition to wraparound support, Certificate graduates also gain access to an Employer Consortium of more than 150 companies—including Bayer, Ford, Deloitte, SAP, Verizon, Walmart, Wayfair, and Google—that consider Certificate graduates for relevant open roles. Google will also provide employees with opportunities to volunteer with learners to help them navigate the transition into digitally-focused careers by hosting virtual mock interviews and career coaching in areas related to the Certificate fields.  

The Google Career Certificates were developed by Google employees to support skilling in high-demand fields. Available on Coursera, the program can be completed in three to six months of part-time study, with no degree or experience required. Over 70,000 people have graduated from the program in the U.S., and 75% of them report a positive career impact, such as a new job, higher pay, or a promotion, within six months of completion. Fifty-five percent of graduates identify as Asian, Black, or Latino.

Today’s announcement builds on over $50 million in previous Google.org grants to organizations like Per Scholas, NPower, Goodwill, and LULAC, and 100,000 need-based scholarships for Google Career Certificate learners in the U.S.

To learn more, visit grow.google.

SUPPORTING QUOTES

Connor Diemand-Yauman, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Merit America
Since our founding, Merit America has driven millions in near-term wage gains for our graduates. While this partnership is exciting for our organization, the real winners will be the talented low-wage working adults in our country, folks too often locked out of great careers because they don’t have a Bachelor’s degree,” said Connor Diemand-Yauman, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Merit America. “We hope this partnership will be a beacon for companies and policymakers grappling with closing opportunity gaps and preparing Americans for better jobs. This is a replicable model for scalable, affordable pathways to new careers.”

Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO, Year Up
“Every young adult deserves equitable access to employment, but those without four-year college degrees continue to face significant barriers which perpetuates the Opportunity Divide,” said Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO, Year Up. “This collaboration with Google and Social Finance provides Year Up with an opportunity to help more young adults gain in-demand skills and experiences to empower them to reach their full potential.”

Juan Rajlin, Treasurer, Google
“Two-thirds of the U.S. labor force doesn’t have a college degree, so skill-based education is increasingly important to create an inclusive economy that works for everyone,” said Juan Rajlin, Treasurer, Alphabet and Google. “The Google Career Certificates Fund will support Social Finance’s program to give people affordable access to training for in-demand jobs, along with the resources to support their educational journey every step of the way, while simultaneously helping to ease labor shortages in growing fields.”

Justin Steele, Americas Director, Google.org
“Having worked for Year Up prior to Google, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to scale workforce training solutions that have been proven to work but are underfunded to work at scale,” said Justin Steele, Americas Director, Google.org. “By introducing a financing model that enables repayments from successful learners to support future learners, we hope the Google Career Certificate Fund’s unique blend of philanthropy and financing will allow Social Finance to enable training providers to achieve scale that has thus far been unattainable.”

Lisa Gevelber, Founder, Grow with Google
“Google is committed to helping create a more equitable and inclusive job market by opening more pathways to great jobs in high-paying career fields for everyone,” said Lisa Gevelber, Founder, Grow with Google. “The Google Career Certificates Fund will support nonprofits to accelerate economic mobility for tens of thousands of Americans, and we hope it can be a model for others to address opportunity gaps locally and nationally.”

About Grow with Google
Grow with Google was started in 2017 to help Americans grow their skills, careers, and businesses. It provides training, tools, and expertise to help small business owners, veterans and military families, jobseekers and students, educators, startups, and developers. Since Grow with Google’s inception, it has helped more than eight million Americans develop new skills. Grow with Google has a network of more than 8,000 partner organizations like libraries, schools, small business development centers, chambers of commerce, and nonprofits to help people coast-to-coast.

About Google.org
Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits and social enterprises who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a better world, faster — and we believe in leveraging technology and applying scalable data-driven innovation to move the needle.

About Social Finance
Social Finance is a national impact finance and advisory nonprofit. We work with the public, private, and social sectors to create partnerships and investments that measurably improve lives. Since our founding in 2011, we have mobilized $350 million in new investments designed to help 45,000 individuals realize improved outcomes in education, economic mobility, health, and housing. In addition to managing the investment program funded by the Google Career Certificates Fund, our economic mobility portfolio includes the UP Fund, place-based Pay It Forward Funds, and the Dreamers Graduate Loan Fund.

Contacts:
Andrea Willis, Communications Manager
Google
(757) 272 9470
andreawillis@google.com

Carrie Benjamin, Director of Media & Communications
Social Finance
(857) 340 6064
cbenjamin@socialfinance.org