Grow with Google attacks 'opportunity gap'

Hank Hayes • Updated Aug 14, 2018 at 9:58 AM

KINGSPORT — “Googlers” took over the Kingsport Public Library Monday and went digital.

Library, nonprofit and education professionals plus business people got onsite training on how they can use Grow with Google’s free tools and resources.

What is Grow with Google?

It’s an initiative launched in October 2017. It’s aimed at job seekers, teachers, small businesses, business startups and developers.

Google says the initiative can address an “opportunity gap” in the U.S. Evidence cited included that only 44 percent of 18- 25-year-olds believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter today’s workforce; that one in three jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today; and digital-based middle skill jobs are growing 2.5 times faster and offer 18 percent higher wages.

“There were six million jobs reported available but seven million people unemployed,” Google Community Engagement Manager Stephen Brokaw told a group of about 50 people at the library. “There’s an opportunity gap where skills don’t match what’s available. … If you’re running a small business, digital skills are more important than ever.

“The Google initiative helps people grow their skills and businesses through free training resources. … We just want to make you aware of our tools and resources. … We hope these tools will be a capacity-building resource for you.”

Kingsport Mayor John Clark noted the event gets people thinking about business.

“What they’re learning in this seminar will help them achieve that. … We need to get people in a business frame of mind so they will start a business. … They need a place to go,” Clark stressed.

What resources were available at the event?

People could sit down at coaching stations with “Googlers” to chat and answer questions. They learned how to get found on Google Search and Maps and how to reach customers online with Google. The event focused on digital skills, coding, online safety, data analytics and improving online business presence. There also were available one-on-one coaching sessions on Google Spreadsheets and other GSuite Tools, in addition to Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Google My Business, Gmail and Google Calendar.

Who were the event partners?

Google partnered with the Kingsport Public Library, Goodwill Industries of Tenneva Area, Inc., and the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE).

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