Google just announced a major $50 million grant initiative to help workers (American and those overseas) who may be displaced by the rapid pace of technology.
The company’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, announced plans to fund nonprofit organizations that are training workers with new skills, connecting job seekers to open positions, delivering services to low-wage workers, and pursing research on where the jobs of the future will be.
At an event in D.C., they announced the first three grant recipients which include Code for America, Year Up, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
The president of Google.org explained to USA Today:
"We have looked at where we can make a uniquely Google contribution to the space, recognizing these are huge forces and economic changes at work," said Fuller.
"We know right now there are existing jobs going unfilled simply because there's a mismatch," Fuller said.
Google particularly wants to improve the job quality for low-wage workers:
"Service jobs are the fastest growing category of jobs in the U.S., Europe and many other developed economies, and likely will continue to be,” wrote Fuller. “But as more people go into these jobs, they’re finding it hard to get the kind of support that has historically been typical for workers in big corporations.”
This is just one effort and example of the private sector looking ahead and using private philanthropy to help prepare American workers for the coming changes to the workforce.
The predictions are almost daily of American workers being displaced by automation. Some estimates suggest that half of jobs will disappear.
While alarmists think the solution is to slow down technology, others recognize that there is great upside to technology’s development. New jobs that don’t exist now will be created and entirely new industries will spring up. A decade ago, social media companies could be counted on one hand and the sharing economy was not even a thing. Now, billion-dollar social media and tech companies have changed how we connect, live, earn money, and get around for the good.
We’ll see if other companies jump on board, especially those in the tech sector which are ushering in a new era of artificial intelligence and automation.
It’s noteworthy that while lawmakers should have the future changes to work on their radars, it should be the private sector that takes the lead.