TORONTO – BUSINESS – Research shows there’s a significant skills and education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Canada, particularly when it comes to connectivity, graduation rates and digital literacy. The economic impact of the pandemic has increased this divide, disproportionately impacting the employment rates of Indigenous populations. As Canada rebuilds its economy post COVID-19, Google Canada, ComIT and Indspire will work toward a common goal of bridging this longstanding gap, increase free access to digital skills education, and support economic growth within Indigenous communities.
Google Canada announced a $600,000 commitment to provide free digital skills training to Indigenous job seekers across Canada. The support includes a $500,000 Google.org grant towards ComIT’s Recoding Futures IT training program, an additional $100,000 in funding to support Indspire with their education and job training programs and an allocation of Google Career Certificate scholarships for Indigenous job seekers. Today’s support is in addition to Google Canada’s $2 million commitment to reskill job seekers for new careers in technology in under six months, announced earlier this year.
“The social and economic hardships felt by many during this pandemic have brought some heavy truths to the surface and we now have an opportunity to build back a more inclusive and resilient economy,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP & Country Manager, Google Canada. “We’re proud to support ComIT and Indspire to deepen our commitment in digital skills training in high demand fields, create opportunities for Indigenous job seekers entering the tech workforce and increase Indigenous representation in our technology workforce.”
“We’re excited by the renewed support from Google.org to bring free digital skills training to Indigenous students across Canada,” said Pablo Listingart, Executive Director, ComIT. “In the first year of the Recoding Futures program, we saw overwhelming interest, with over 800 applicants, double than what we expected. We look forward to expanding this program in 2022 and accommodating as many applicants as possible.”
Google Canada is also committing $100,000 to Indspire to support their existing job training programs, along with an allocation of dedicated Google Career Certificate scholarships for Indigenous job seekers. The scholarships can be used towards Google Career Certificate courses, which are delivered through NPower Canada and equips learners with theoretical and practical knowledge to be successful in an entry-level technology job.
“Indspire is pleased to continue and expand this important initiative with support from Google Canada, and in partnership with NPower Canada and ComIT,” said Mike DeGagné, President & CEO of Indspire. “The first year of the program demonstrated that Indigenous youth are keen to pursue this kind of training. Not only will it benefit them on an individual level, it will also ensure that their communities as a whole will benefit from their newfound knowledge, ensuring that Indigenous communities across the country will be better able to participate in the digital skills-based economy.”
“In 2021, we enrolled 886 young adults into Google’s IT Support Certificate scholarship program, allowing them to obtain the skills necessary to start their careers and participate in Canada’s digital economy,” said Julia Blackburn, CEO, NPower Canada. “As we look ahead to 2022 and beyond, this additional support from Google and partnership with Indspire reaffirms NPower Canada’s commitment to inclusion and increased representation of Indigenous peoples in the tech workforce across Canada.”
Applications are now open for ComIT’s Recoding Futures program. Interested applicants can visit ComIT.org to register.
ComIT is a registered charity that provides free training and professional development opportunities in information technology. Their courses are taught by IT professionals working at leading companies, with a curated curriculum built to ensure graduates are equipped to meet the needs of the immediate labor market. ComIT believes that the democratization of education and opportunity is Canada’s path forward.
Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. With the support of its funding partners, Indspire provides financial awards, delivers programs and shares resources so that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students will achieve their highest potential. In 2020-2021, Indspire provided more than $20 million through 6,245 bursaries, scholarships, and awards to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students across Canada.
About NPower Canada:
NPower Canada is a charitable organization that launches underserved young adults, including people with disabilities, BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ youth, into meaningful & sustainable careers in technology. Through its free in-demand digital and professional skills training programs, NPower Canada connects young adults to employers who are looking for junior IT/tech talent. NPower Canada has grown from enrolling 87 learners in 2015 to 1,700 in 2021, scaling within the GTA and expanding nationally to Calgary in 2019 and Halifax and Vancouver in 2021.
To date, more than 80% of NPower Canada’s 2910 alumni have secured in-demand tech jobs such as Help Desk Analyst, QA Specialist and Information Security Analyst with industry leaders such as Accenture, CGI, CIBC, Cisco, Deloitte, IBM, RBC, Softchoice, TD and TELUS.
About Google Canada
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a global technology leader, Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. Google Canada has offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa with over 2,000 Canadian Google employees working on teams across Engineering, AI Research, Sales and Marketing.
Google’s philanthropy, brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits and social enterprises who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a better world, faster — and we believe in leveraging technology and applying scalable data-driven innovation to move the needle.