By Amy Brooks, Business Education Director
Today we’re announcing our pledge to train 1 million US business owners and equip more people with the digital skills they need to compete in today’s workplace. As our CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said, we want to make it easier for people to find jobs and grow businesses. According to recent predictions, the skilled labor shortage in America could create 85.2 million unfilled jobs by 2030. We are committed to helping reverse the skills gap in America by giving individuals and companies the tools they need to flourish in an increasingly digital economy.
Local business owners in the US tell us that digital and social media expertise are important both to running their businesses and as a consideration when hiring. In fact, a lot of business owners value a candidate’s digital skills above where they went to school. When we speak to people in local communities, the insights are even more telling. In Houston, for example, more than 95% of job seekers say it is important to have digital skills when looking for a job, yet only 15% rate their digital skills as excellent.
And while people tell us these skills are important, free resources are not easy to find. We want to help change that. Our plan is to work side by side with communities to provide more free in-person training, mentorship and online courses. Here are some resources available today and a view of what else we’re going to build.
Expanding our in-person programs and creating more local partnerships
Closing the digital skills gap is something we can’t do alone. That’s why we’re developing local partnerships across the US so we can create free training for skills like coding, digital marketing, and more.
Last November we announced a new digital training program, Facebook Community Boost, which will now expand to visit 50 US cities by the end of 2018. We’ve also partnered with and trained more than 60 organizations in twelve US cities. By the end of the year we plan to establish new local partnerships which include teaming up with 20 community colleges to offer digital marketing training. This is similar to an initiative we announced with Central New Mexico Community College and Des Moines Areas Community College or the new initiative in Boston with Bunker Hill Community College and Roxbury Community College.
We’re starting to see encouraging results from these programs. In Michigan, for example, we’re partnering with Grand Circus to train 3,000 people in digital marketing and coding over the next two years. We’ve trained 16 local organizations and have started running free workshops for hundreds of people across the state. And 85% of the first coding bootcamp graduates have either found a new or better paying job. Grand Circus’ new 12-week bootcamp will kick off in July 2018.
More online curriculum and a new online e-learning platform
Small and local businesses (and even big brands) ask us for more training on how to use Facebook and Instagram to build and grow their businesses. In March 2015 we launched Facebook Blueprint, which includes a free eLearning available in 14 different languages, designed to do just that. With nearly 80 online courses, Blueprint allows people to learn about Facebook and Instagram marketing at their own pace. Plus, our Blueprint team works with local associations such as the Small Business Administration, America’s Small Business Development Centers and National Small Business Association to offer free in-person local training events leveraging Blueprint curriculum. So far, more than 160,000 US small businesses have been trained using Blueprint, and by 2020 we plan to train an additional 250,000.
In the early fall of 2018, we’ll also launch Learn with Facebook, a free online training resource to equip people with the skills they need to grow and become drivers of their local economies. Today people in the US can sign-up here so they can be alerted directly when the platform is live. This platform will provide access to new digital skills training for people across skill levels and interests; whether you’re a student wanting to learn digital marketing skills, a job seeker wanting to bolster your CV, a seasoned professional looking to retrain, or a budding entrepreneur wanting to turn an idea into a reality, we’ll have tools available to help you reach your goals.
In order to sustain economic growth for the future, we need to focus on training our workforce today. That’s why we’re investing in creating more free resources and we’ll share what we learn along the way.