At a Google learning center class. Photo courtesy of Google
By Jason Cohen
In continuing its commitment to educate New Yorkers about technology, Google recently launched a five-month free learning center at its headquarters in Chelsea.
On April 8, Google started the Grow with Google NYC Learning Center, located on the ground floor of the company’s NYC headquarters at 111 Eighth Avenue. The program, which began in 2017, has been held in various cities throughout the country for a few days at a time, but never for this long a period.
“We all felt like opening our doors to the community, especially here in Chelsea will be a really positive thing,” said Google’s Carley Graham Garcia. “We’ve been wanting and looking for ways to engage small businesses and also people looking for work, students and educators in our immediate community. When this space became available and we were actually able to open the front door right on Eighth Ave., we seized the opportunity.”
The opening of the center comes as Google has made a number of other investments in the city. Google recently donated $1.5 million to support the Stonewall National Monument Preservation Project, joined forces with 19 local businesses to establish the Westside Community Fund and has funded programs like MotherCoders NYC.
Grow with Google will offer workshops Monday through Saturday that will feature one-on-one coaching, lessons on coding, website building, online marketing, creating a compelling resume, SEO training and how educators can best teach tech skills. Those interested in signing up for classes can do so through this registration link.
Graham Garcia said the goal of the program is primarily to help job-seekers and small businesses.
“Our hope is that people will sign up for these classes, feel empowered to basically leave the center being ready for a job interview or ready to get a new job or on the small business side, feel like they can really drive their business using some of the digital tools that we’re promoting,” Graham Garcia said.
Graham Garcia said the first two weeks of classes were completely booked and many people came to view the center at an open house on April 13.
While the program will definitely benefit college students or those who have just graduated, she stressed the center is also there for adults. Today, everything revolves around technology and it is imperative for adults to be as knowledgeable as kids, Graham Garcia said. She hopes that Grow with Google can get middle-aged adults up to speed on technology.
“Our hope is that more and more people that who are in that space will come,” she said. “If you are an adult in that age where if you typically didn’t use technology or new digital tools that Google has here or that others offer [and] you need to kind of beef up your knowledge ... we’re hopeful that this center can help.”
Google is also partnering with other local community organizations dedicated to digital skills-building and training. These groups include Hudson Guild, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Boys & Girls Clubs, New York Public Library, NYC Employment & Training Coalition, United Federation of Teachers and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.
Looking ahead, Graham Garcia feels this program will have a positive impact on New Yorkers.
“I’m hopeful it will give the community a feel for Google and a feel for the type of resources we can offer,” she said.