Operation Restoration Receives Google Grant for Digital Skills Training – Biz New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS — Operation Restoration is working with Google to provide digital skills programs to advance economic opportunity for people impacted by incarceration. In June, Google shared that it is investing $4 million toward a new fund that aims to expand its justice reform work. More than 500 nonprofit organizations across the country applied to receive support from the fund. Operation Restoration is among the recipients selected by Google based on its mission of supporting women and girls who have been impacted by incarceration receive education, job skills training and career resources. 
More than 600,000 Americans leave incarceration each year and face higher jobless rates than the US average. The lack of technology in prison creates further barriers to employment, as digital skills are increasingly essential in the current job market. Operation Restoration plans to use the new funding to integrate Google’s digital skills curriculum into existing programming, with the goal to help women impacted by incarceration learn skills for today’s job market. With support from Google, the women can improve their technology and computer literacy skills to increase education and employment opportunities. One program in particular in which digital skills will be incorporated is the organization’s Lab Assistant Training program.
“Some of our clients are being exposed to digital technology for the first time. That automatically presents roadblocks to them being able to submit a job application,” explains Operation Restoration Founder and Executive Director Syrita Steib. “When I was released, I didn’t even know how to use a smart phone.” 
“As we work to create a more inclusive economy, we’re committed to helping people impacted by incarceration access training for today’s jobs,” says Tia McLaurin, senior manager, Grow with Google. “We’re proud to work with outstanding partners to ensure more people can qualify for great jobs and create a new beginning for themselves and their families.”
The selected organizations will use Google digital skills curriculum that was co-curated with five nonprofits— The Last Mile, Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO),Defy Ventures, Fortune Society and The Ladies of Hope Ministries. The program’s training includes five learning paths that Google developed: (1) Getting Started with the Basics, (2) Job Search, (3) Job Readiness, (4) Online Safety, and (5) “Next Step” Job Readiness Skills. Lessons vary from fundamental skills such as how to apply for jobs online and create a resumé to more advanced topics including entrepreneurship and business budgeting. Partners will integrate this curriculum into existing programs to help people develop skills that will help them get a job or start a business. 
Since launching in April 2021, Grow with Google’s program has helped more than 10,000 people impacted by incarceration obtain digital skills. Out of participants surveyed, 85% said they felt more prepared for their future, and more 75% reported they had a job or were enrolled as a student by the end of the program. To date, Google has given more than $48 million in Google.org grants and committed 50,000 pro bono hours to advance criminal justice reform. Learn more about how Google is expanding access to digital skills training to support individuals who were formerly incarcerated at grow.google/justice-impacted.
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