Google announces $50 million initiative for displaced workers

Google announces $50 million initiative for displaced workers
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Google will launch a $50 million initiative to help “the most vulnerable” prepare for the “changing nature of work," the company announced Wednesday.

The money will go through Google's philanthropy branch, Google.org, to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Europe. Nonprofits receiving the money will also receive help from Google volunteers. The company said that it planned to extend this to other countries and continents as well in the future.

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In a blog post on its website, Google head of philanthropy Jacqueline Fuller said that the money will go to organizations such as Code For America, which helps job seekers use government tools and services to find employment. Another group receiving money, France's Bayes Impact, uses machine learning to offer customized job recommendations to job seekers.  

Fuller said that the initiative is part of its larger push to support education and economic opportunity. She noted that Google had previously put $50 million towards the educational gap. Together, the two efforts mark Google.org’s largest philanthropic effort to date.

At an event in Google’s D.C. office announcing the $50 million initiative, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election MORE (D-Va.) praised Google’s efforts and spoke on the overhaul that the workforce is undergoing.

“We’ve morphed from this traditional notion where you work for the same firm 30 years, to this notion, particularly for millennials, where the question is not ‘Where do you work?’ but ‘What are you working on?’” Warner said.

Warner said that workforce adaptations and support are needed for workers in contract or low-paid jobs, and those who could most easily be affected by job loss as a result of automation.

“Why would a rational business train up someone who could go to another job quickly?” Warner asked, arguing that there needed to be a solution for this lack of training as workers move between jobs more often.

Fuller did not specify what types of issues are leading to worker displacement, but in his remarks Warner noted that the causes stem from the rise of contract work and automation, which he said hits lowest-income workers the hardest.

Warner has pushed for legislation that would provide benefits like retirement and health insurance to contract workers who work for gig-style companies, like Amazon’s contract delivery service or Uber, and don't receive health benefits.