Lincoln University received a $20,000 grant from Google to bolster career services on campus.
The Grow with Google Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Career Readiness program awarded the university the grant in late January.
Grow with Google partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to create the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness program in 2020, committing more than $1 million to support HBCU career services around the country.
Beth Jordan, career services director, said the university received the first half of its $20,000 grant funds already and will get the rest next academic year.
The funds go toward supporting student access to Grow with Google's five learning areas that aim to better prepare students with skills needed to enter the professional workforce, Jordan said. Lincoln students can get more training in developing digital skills, exploring career paths, landing a job, succeeding at a new job and entrepreneurship.
Jordan said Lincoln's Office of Career Services offers some support in those areas, but the Grow with Google program establishes a different framework that allows students to work more independently.
"What's really unique about this program, and one of the things that I personally love, is that they encourage a watch, do, meet framework where students can watch or read the content, do or complete any of the activities and then meet with their career counselor or mentors within our office to get feedback on the work that they've completed," she said.
The courses and program are entirely free for students, Jordan said, and courses are completed at the student's pace.
The program starts at Lincoln next fall semester, and Jordan said she's hoping to have at least 70 students complete Grow with Google courses throughout the year.
The university will host kickoff and promotional events to attract students to the program, as well as potentially incorporate them into existing internship opportunities, Jordan said. She said Career Services will also offer incentives to students who successfully complete the courses.
Jordan said additional career readiness training is a constant need at Lincoln and students will be able to choose to work through any or all courses depending on what their individual needs are.
"We think that students will be excited to engage in these opportunities, particularly students who are already taking the extra steps to be interns," Jordan said. "We hope that they grab on to this program to gain some of those skills."
Jordan said the courses could also lead to more students using resources the Office of Career Services already offers, such as mock interviews.
In addition to offering the courses to students directly, Jordan said the Small Business Development Center on campus could use the entrepreneurship course to assist more people.
"I think any digital skills and extra certification that students can receive while they're getting their formal training is beneficial to them upon graduation," Jordan said. "It's a very competitive workforce and so showing that you're willing to take initiative to gain extra skills and put in the extra work I certainly think is a bonus."