AUGUSTA — Google is coming to Maine as part of the tech company’s “Grow with Google” initiative. The initiative aims to help create economic opportunity in communities across the U.S. by providing free training, tools and expertise for people across their country to grow their skills, careers and businesses, according to a news release from Google.

The free workshop for local businesses, nonprofits and jobseekers in Maine will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Lithgow Public Library, 45 Winthrop St.

“Over 99% of Maine businesses are small businesses, and more than half of Maine workers are employed by a small business. ‘Grow with Google’s’ free workshops and tools can help Maine’s small businesses develop the skills necessary to take their business to the next level, and help jobseekers gain valuable skills that employers of all sizes need,” said Erica Swanson, Google’s Head of Community Engagement, according to the release.

Throughout the day Google staff will teach a variety of hands-on workshops to provide local businesses and residents with tools and resources to find the jobs they want, advance their careers and grow their businesses. Attendees are welcome to register for specific workshops, or drop in and sign up for one-on-one 20-minute training sessions with Google staff for everything from how to set up an email account, to ways they can advertise their business, or create a resume.

Local nonprofits — libraries, government agencies, educational institutions and more — also will be invited to join the “Grow with Google” partner program; a free network for local organizations which provides a range of training content, tools and promotional materials and best practices to continue sharing “Grow with Google” resources with their community, according to the release.

Public libraries have been natural and valuable partners in bringing “Grow with Google” resources to communities across the U.S. According to the American Library Association, nearly three-quarters of libraries already have job development programming in place and 90% are helping patrons learn basic digital skills. As of Nov. 7, libraries in Maine were able to apply for funds to kickstart their own digital skills programming. Last year, “Grow with Google” committed $1 million in microgrants to libraries across the country, through their partnership with the American Library Association.

“The Lithgow Public Library is pleased to participate in ‘Grow with Google,’ as both organizations have a role to play in transforming lives and strengthening communities,” said Sarah Schultz-Nielsen, director of the Lithgow Public Library, according to the release. “The mission of Lithgow Library is to ‘inspire your imagination, and widen your world.’ It was developed collaboratively by the staff and drives the work that we do. Our knowledgeable staff, amazing facility, programming, and collection of materials are some of the many offerings we have to support our mission and communities in the greater Kennebec Valley. Partnering with Google will give library staff more tools to help our users, and users an opportunity to expand on their own.”

“The Maine State Library is thrilled that the Lithgow Public Library in Augusta, Maine, will be kicking off the “Grow with Google” library initiative in November!” said Janet McKenney, director of Library Development, according to the release. “The digital skills needed to find a job, grow in a job and to embrace life-long learning are a critical component in today’s fast-paced digital economy.”

Specifically, “Grow with Google” aims to help address the skills gap by preparing Americans for middle-skill jobs, positions that require some skills but not four year degrees. According to the National Middle Skills Initiative, middle skills jobs account to 52% of Maine’s labor force. A recent study by Burning Glass and Capital One found that more than 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs (82%) require digital skills. Overall, middle-skill jobs average $20 per hour, according to the release.

In its 2018 Economic Impact Report, Google announced that 3,600 businesses in Maine generated $560 million in economic activity by using Google’s search and advertising tools. The full report details Google’s economic impact state-by-state, and features the stories of businesses fueling that growth, creating job opportunities, and transforming their communities.

To learn more about the free event and to register, visit g.co/GrowMaine.

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