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YWCA Receives Google.org Digital Skills Training Grant

By Jenny Callison, posted Sep 8, 2020
YWCA Lower Cape Fear is one of a dozen YWCA organizations to receive a digital skills training grant from Google.org, according to an announcement Tuesday from the local organization.

As part of Google.org’s commitment to provide $5 million to YWCA USA, the local organization will receive $20,000 per year over a three-year period to implement a comprehensive program of training and support, known as STRIVE.

“YWCA Lower Cape Fear is proud to be a member of the inaugural cohort of grantees at 12 local associations in eight states that are using the grant to improve job training programs and increase access to digital skills for women and underserved Americans,” the release stated.

STRIVE is a workforce development program created by YWCA McLean County in Bloomington, Illinois. Its focus is on digital skills training for traditionally underserved or vulnerable populations, such as survivors of domestic violence, citizens returning to their communities following incarceration and low-wage workers.

“We’re going to rely on the area’s community colleges to do the job training because nobody does it better. We will supply the counseling and wrap-around services,” YWCA Lower Cape Fear CEO Velva Jenkins said on Tuesday.

She added that her organization will collaborate with Cape Fear Community College, Brunswick Community College and Southeastern Community College on this workforce development initiative serving residents of Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties.

The program kicks off in October.

The yearly amount of $20,000 will pay for participants’ tuition and fees, as well as the cost of what Jenkins calls “wrap-around and barrier-reduction” services such as child care, stipends, rent assistance, transportation, case management, and job coaching and placement aimed at ensuring each participant’s success.  

“YWCA Lower Cape Fear views this grant as a critical investment in the rebuilding of our local economy that has been devastated through COVID-19, the economic downturn, and racial injustice through the upskilling and reskilling of a traditionally overlooked workforce,” Jenkins said.

Google.org, Google’s philanthropy arm, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world’s biggest challenges, the release stated.
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