Grow with Google Funds Digital Skills Training at Georgia Public Libraries

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June 18, 2020
CONTACT: Deborah Hakes, dhakes@georgialibraries.org

Georgia Public Library Service is pleased to announce that eight public libraries in Georgia have been selected to participate in Libraries Lead with Digital Skills, an initiative of the American Library Association and the Public Library Association, sponsored by Grow With Google, the tech company’s economic opportunity initiative.

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This program is funded by Libraries Lead with Digital Skills, which was created so that local libraries can combine their own program offerings with Grow with Google training materials to offer virtual community workshops or other activities aimed at empowering small businesses to grow online or assisting job seekers to prepare for and find work. This grant was awarded to libraries whose applications innovatively responded to the impact of COVID-19 through virtual library services.

Learn more about the LIFT program

Georgia’s libraries have long played a vital and wide-ranging role in the economic and workforce development efforts in our state,” said State Librarian Julie Walker. “We’re delighted that Grow with Google is partnering with our libraries to strengthen and expand these efforts. Now even more Georgians will know that public libraries are a great resource for support in applying for jobs, starting small businesses, and acquiring the digital skills essential in our global marketplace.”

grow with googleThe Grow with Google initiative draws on Google’s 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Through this initiative, Google  aims to help everyone across America – those who make up the workforce of today and those who will drive the workforce of tomorrow – access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. Learn more at grow.google.

“Libraries have long been America’s gathering place for learning. From learning new digital skills for the workplace, to creating a résumé or growing your business online, people are going to libraries as resources for professional growth now more than ever,” said Nicky Rigg, program manager for Digital Skills outreach at Google. “Grow with Google is excited to support library programs across the country to help ensure that economic opportunity exists for everyone.” 

The Georgia Public Library Service program, Library Initiatives for Funding Technology (LIFT), provided technical assistance to apply for the Grow with Google grants. LIFT partners with public libraries to fund technology initiatives to support libraries as they build on existing programs and expand their services to the public. LIFT staff assist libraries with identifying grant opportunities, aid the application process, and support the management and reporting stages. Since its inception in 2019, LIFT has assisted libraries with successful grant applications totaling $63,992 towards innovative programs and services in their communities.

Here is a summary of how Grow with Google funds will be used in Georgia’s public libraries: 

  • Commerce Public Library of the Piedmont Regional Library System will hold a live virtual class on Primer, with an overview of how the business app works and how it can benefit local business owners. The library will target local businesses as well as entrepreneurs who need guidance in best practices for starting a small business.
  • DeKalb County Public Library will provide free online classes and follow-up support for patrons seeking job search assistance. The series of library classes will include Applied Digital Skills Lessons and Job Search resources from Grow With Google. Participants will be introduced to contacts to schedule one-on-one assistance and feedback as they create their resumes. Patrons who do not have internet at home will have the opportunity to check out a mobile hotspot device so they can access the online classes.
  • Fulton County Public Library will combine library resources with the Grow with Google suite of tools to enable individuals the opportunity to gain job readiness skills. The library will then create a job pipeline to allow patrons who have gained skills through this partnership an opportunity for employment at a local business.
  • Live Oak Public Libraries will create virtual programs including tips for effective resume writing, preparing for interviews, how to do a job search in today’s market, and much more. Grant funds will be used to purchase tablets for stations to be set up in the community libraries and hot spots that can be checked out by job seekers. There will also be access to use public computers or tablet stations available at all 16 community libraries.
  • The Statesboro-Bulloch County branch of the Statesboro Regional Public Library will provide programming based on empowering small businesses to grow online. The Library will hold a live Facebook event to present a checklist of ways to update the online presence of a small business. The library also will provide a resource document with topics and Grow with Google resource links. 
  • Augusta-Richmond County Public Library will host  a series of four live webinars to share information for those who do not know where to start in planning a new at-home business using the Grow With Google tools Primer and Google My Business. Primer will be used to help those interested in learning skills such as business planning, brand building, social media marketing, and email marketing. Google My Business will be used to help business owners create a listing that will stand out when customers are searching online. Guest speakers will be local small business owners and business professionals from the Augusta area. 
  • Two branches of the Augusta-Richmond County Library also received grants: 
    • The Friedman Branch will use the funds to purchase a computer workstation dedicated to supporting job seekers with one-on-one assistance. This station will enable patrons to create resumes, search for career opportunities, and submit job applications. The library will also host virtual career workshops and training sessions to include Creating and Getting to Know Your Gmail Account, Creating an Effective Resume Using Google Docs, and How to Job Search using Google.
    • The Maxwell Branch will introduce patrons to resume best practices and provide suggestions for the best ways to submit and store a digital resume as well. The branch will incorporate the Grow with Google tools Applied Digital Skills and DigitalLearn.org. 

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The Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) empowers libraries to improve the lives of all Georgians by encouraging reading, literacy, and education through the continuing support and improvement of our public libraries. GPLS is a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. www.georgialibraries.org #georgialibraries