D.C. residents looking to make a career switch to the tech industry got some good news last week. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Friday a $1 million partnership with Google to expand Community College Prep’s IT Pathways program. The grant will cover scholarships for 250 learners to take a Google Career Certificate training program through CC Prep to equip them with tech job skills such as IT, analytics, UX design and project management. The grant also provides wraparound support including career coaching to help more people without a degree enter the tech industry.
“This partnership with Google aligns with our larger goal of ensuring DC residents have access to jobs and careers in high-demand, high-growth, and good-paying industries,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement. “We’re proud to work with Google to give more Washingtonians a fair shot.”
The Google Career Certificate training program was developed to help non-degree seeking learners become skilled in high-demand fields. Certificates typically take three to six months of part-time study to complete and are ideal for working professionals who may not otherwise have the time or money to learn new tech skills. Without a scholarship, the program typically costs $39 a month via subscription costs paid to the Coursera platform.
Those who finish the program are typically considered for employment at over 150 companies. According to Google, out of the 70,000+ program graduates in the U.S., 75 percent report a positive career impact such as a new job or promotion within six months of completion.
The program may also help increase diversity in the tech industry, a sector that is largely dominated by white, cisgender, straight men. Fifty-five percent of program graduates identify as BIPOC, which are often unrepresented in tech.
The grant from Google and Mayor Bowser isn’t the only source of tech economic investment for the D.C. area. According to Technical.ly DC, the city’s draft budget that will be heard this week has a number of provisions related to tech.
While nothing is set in stone yet, the draft budget proposes $100 million for district-wide broadband funding, $15 million for cybersecurity efforts including protecting D.C. Public Schools, $4 million for a “tech enablement team” to help government agencies speed up tech in the public sector, $8 million for core infrastructure upgrades and more. Altogether, these proposed funding initiatives would represent a $151.6 million investment in D.C. tech and tech-adjacent programs for the 2023 fiscal year.