This spring, Google.org rolled out $50 million in grants to close the global education gap, a cause it has funded to the tune of $110 million since 2012. Now, the tech giant’s philanthropic arm has dedicated $50 million more to shut the gap between jobs and skills. Together, these grants constitute Google.org’s “largest giving initiative to date.”
Tackling the workforce skills gap is a major priority for corporate funders right now, and it cuts to the core of one of today’s biggest sources of economic insecurity: the rapidly changing nature of work. Last year, the Bridgespan Group identified grantmaking in this area as one of its “billion-dollar bets” for spurring economic opportunity.
But this is challenging terrain for philanthropy, and so far, some of the most active players have been corporate giants with a lot to gain from an up-to-date job market. A prime example is JPMorgan Chase, with its $250 million New Skills at Work initiative. JPMorgan Chase approaches the skills gap problem from many angles, and digital tools are among them. Microsoft Philanthropies is another example, backing digital solutions like the Markle Foundation’s Skillful, a job-seeking and skill-building platform piloted in Colorado.