January 17, 2018 — Goodwill of the Heartland is among 125 local Goodwill organizations nationwide competitively chosen to be the first to provide digital skills training services through a new initiative with Google. The Goodwill Digital Career AcceleratorSM is made possible by a $10 million grant from Google and volunteer assistance from 1,000 Google employees.

Goodwill of the Heartland will receive a $50,000 grant to fund its local participation in the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator.  Collectively over the next three years, the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator will result in more than 1 million people across the United States being trained in skills that will make them more marketable workers for the digital age.

“The Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator initiative means we at Goodwill of the Heartland have one more tool to help members of our communities build their skills and expand their career options,” said Paulette Risden-Rice, Program Director for the organization’s Quad Cities service area. “There is no question that workers with up-to-date digital skills will be in a better position to advance in today’s labor market.”

Goodwill of the Heartland is seeking to develop opportunities and partnerships that will bring digital skills to communities across its service area. Initially, these new services will likely be focused in the Quad Cities, Muscatine, Burlington and Keokuk areas. Goodwill team members and volunteers at Goodwill’s Helms Career Centers, located inside the Muscatine and Moline Goodwill stores, will also help job seekers hone their digital skills. Digital skills include basic computer skills that would be used to establish an email address, apply for a job, perform many entry-level tasks and increase productivity.

“As a baseline, employers look for workers and job applicants who can proficiently use computers and other electronic devices,” said Jacquelline Fuller, CEO of Google.org. “The Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator will greatly assist those hoping to get ahead in their careers and obtain the types of jobs that will remain in demand for years to come in a demanding digital economy.”

With this investment from Google, Goodwill organizations have three levels of participation in the grant based on their current digital skills training operations; capacity to initiate, enhance or expand digital skills training; and local labor market demand. Those three options include Digital Change Agents, Digital Champions and Digital Enthusiasts.

Ten local Goodwill organizations will be Digital Change Agents, receiving a $300,000 grant and serving as leaders in digital skills expansion and training across the network.  Seventy-five local Goodwill organizations, including Goodwill of the Heartland, will participate as Digital Champions.  Each Digital Champion will receive a $50,000 grant and engage in extensive learning and technical assistance opportunities to help enhance and expand training offerings.  An additional 14 local Goodwill organizations will participate in the second cohort of Digital Champions and eleven more will be recruited in early 2018. Eighteen local Goodwill organizations will be Digital Enthusiasts, each receiving an $8,000 grant to participate in learning events. The remaining Goodwill organizations will be recruited in 2018 for a total of 125 participating Goodwill organizations.

To see the full list of participating Goodwill organizations and their geographic areas, visit http://www.goodwill.org/dca/

About Goodwill of the Heartland

The mission of Goodwill of the Heartland is to advance the social and economic well-being of people who experience barriers to independence.  Goodwill offers life and job skill development, work experience, job placement assistance, day habilitation, supported community living, workforce services to employers and contract manufacturing, assembly and packaging.  In 2016, Goodwill provided nearly 17,000 services to people with barriers in its 19-county service area.  For more information, including retail, donation and service locations, please visit www.goodwillheartland.org or call toll free 1-866-466-7881.

About Google

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

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