Google gives out another big grant in San Jose, this time for job training
Year Up offers job training and pairs young adults with apprenticeships and internships. Google recently granted the organization $250,000 for workforce development in San Jose. Image courtesy of Year Up

Google has granted $250,000 to Year Up Bay Area’s San Jose program, which aims to “close the opportunity divide” through technical and professional skills training.

Year Up, which has partnered with Google across the country since 2009, focuses its services on people ranging from 18 to 24 years old who do not have college degrees. The program pairs young adults with opportunities for apprenticeships, internships and college credits. Google’s grant to the organization was awarded through Google.org, a philanthropic arm of the Mountain View-based tech titan, which has given Year Up $2.2 million in total for its programs nationally. The most recent grant, however, is specifically for workforce development in San Jose.

“Since we first launched our Silicon Valley site, Google has been an ardent supporter of our work,” said Emily Schaffer, executive director of Year Up Bay Area. “With this grant, we will be able to increase our impact further and connect even more young adults in this city with companies in need of their talent.”

Across the country, 27 Year Up program participants are completing apprenticeships at Google this year. Of those, 11 are from the San Jose location, working on things like project management, data analytics and information technology on the Silicon Valley company’s engineering and real estate teams.

One program alum, Pedro Rodriguez, said in a statement Wednesday that Year Up helped him stand out as a Google apprentice and land work as an IT resident for the tech giant.

“Year Up set me up for success, and through Google, I made the most of my apprenticeship opportunity,” Rodriguez said. “I worked closely with my apprenticeship manager to identify where I could bring the most value to the team as well as where I could challenge myself to grow.”

The grant announcement comes as Google is preparing to submit a formal submission for a new, massive San Jose campus that would include about 6.5 million square feet of office space on a sprawling 60-acre campus with thousands of residential units, approximately 500,000 square feet of retail, hotel, cultural and arts space and 15 acres of park land and greenery.

That formal proposal is slated to arrive at San Jose City Hall next month, though Google officials gave San Joseans an early peek at its vision last month.

Some residents have protested the tech giant’s arrival in the Bay Area’s largest city, primarily due to worries that its entrance will push out existing residents, particularly those who are low-income. In response, Google has promised to invest in job training and creating career “pathways” in San Jose. Other residents have said they are optimistic about Google’s plans for an area adjacent to the city’s busy transit center, Diridon Station, which is expected to get billions of dollars in investment in the coming years.

Meanwhile, Google has been busy divvying out grants as part of its recently announced $1 billion housing investment commitment in the Bay Area, where the company is planning to set aside land for housing and make investments in programs and nonprofits that address the region’s housing crisis.

Google is focusing those efforts on the cities where it is growing: San Francisco, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and San Jose. So far, the company has handed over $50 million to the Housing Trust Silicon Valley to invest in affordable homebuilding and $1.5 million to The Salvation Army to expand its services for homeless people.

The newly-announced Year Up Bay Area grant isn’t part of that commitment; it’s a grant the company is awarding through its ongoing philanthropic efforts at Google.org.

Year Up Bay Area, which offers free job training through its campuses in San Francisco, San Jose, Menlo Park, and at Diablo Valley College, has had more than 3,000 program participants since 2008, according to the organization.

About 81 percent of the program’s recent Silicon Valley graduates have found full-time or contract work, reporting an average starting wage of more than $27 per hour. Of those, 54 percent were hired by the company where they worked via the Year Up program, the company stated.

“Empowering the young adults in our local communities to dream big and pursue their passions as they begin their careers is extremely important to us,” Javier Gonzalez, Google’s South Bay policy lead, said in a statement Wednesday. “Year Up has been an invaluable partner in providing youth the tools they need to succeed in the Bay Area and beyond.”

Contact Janice Bitters at janice@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @JaniceBitters on Twitter.

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