Google Pouring $50 Million into ‘Changing Nature of Work’

Google wants to spend $50 million to land you a new job.

Actually, the search-engine giant’s focus is a little narrower than that: it wants to give that money to nonprofits that focus on helping people navigate the “changing nature of work.” This includes groups devoted to helping people connect with employers, get new training, and work in better conditions.

Early beneficiaries of Google’s program will include Code for America, which builds digital tools that help people more easily navigate government services, and Social Finance, which analyzes which youth-training programs best use contributions to improve their clients’ skills.

Google is also giving out money and donating volunteer time to organizations that seek to alleviate the harsher aspects of service jobs; one beneficiary in that category is the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which supports injured service workers. Google volunteers will translate the group’s offerings into other languages.

“We also recognize that the way we work is changing, and we want to make sure that as many people as possible can make the most of the new jobs, industries and opportunities that are emerging—some of which we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago,” Google wrote in a corporate blog posting about the initiative.

Many tech companies devote time and money to various causes in an attempt to appear socially conscious; some devote software, while others encourage their employees to volunteer.

With Google, it’s possible to argue that initiatives like this newest one are designed to blunt criticism about its technologies killing jobs. For example, the company has devoted years (and millions of dollars) to designing self-driving vehicle software that critics fear will ultimately prove devastating to industries such as trucking. Its artificial intelligence and machine-learning efforts may likewise have a sizable impact on customer service, tech support, and other businesses that depend on scripted actions.

Such a sizable shift in the labor market may take years to come to fruition, however. In the meantime, Google seems to be positioning itself as a defender and facilitator of human employment.

5 Responses to “Google Pouring $50 Million into ‘Changing Nature of Work’”

  1. “..attempt to appear socially conscious”. This is exactly what it is. A Google alumnus Marrisa Mayer made a splash several years ago by ending remote work arrangement trying to bring some aspects of Google’s culture into her troubled new project. So I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that everything Google does is necessarily golden. How about realizing that majority of international companies have teams dispersed throughout the globe and notion of coming to physical company office is actually outdated in many cases. Whenever we hear a concern about automation and AI eliminating jobs, we also should ask a question on why do we then still have 40+-hour weeks? Why do we still have puny vacation time? Why are we told that we might have to work till 70 before collecting Social Security!? While Google is focusing on trying to encourage and produce more coders (supposedly for abundant and cheaper pipeline of new work force), we have to think outside the box in terms of public policy changes and improving quality of life by virtual office, modernizing our dilapidated commuter infrastructure and increasing widely adopted time-off policies.

  2. Let’s get real here. All the so-called “technology” has in reality had a net negative effect upon the overall well being of society. Adults addicted to their electronic gadgets. Children addicted to their electronic woobies so they end up graduating from high school unable to really think – many don’t know their times tables and cannot write three coherent sentences! And their entering a world, itself addicted to “technology”. Unable to function in the world because of “social anxiety” which comes from staring at their cell phone 12 hours a day oblivious of what is going on around them with $500.00 cell phones purchased by their addicted “parents”. And of course Big Corp, like Google doesn’t do anything without the end goal being profit. With Big Corp It is all about the money! The “bottom line”. To wit : the massive shipping of manufacturing facilities and therefore millions of jobs exported overseas to take advantage of what amounts to slave labor to increase their profits and leaving millions of Americans out of their job. So please Big Corp stop coming at us with your “improving society” mantra.

  3. What about the millions of IT workers over age 50 who have had their jobs relentlessly off-shored over the past couple decades? We have been discarded much like all the other obsolete tech accumulating in our landfills. Soon automation will eliminate 40- and 30-somethings’ jobs just as easily as globalization did.