By Ime Archibong, VP Product Partnerships
Since first launching Community Boost in St Louis in March of this year, we’ve visited more than 30 cities, partnered with 60 local organizations, and established our first national partnership with the National Urban League to help small businesses grow and people gain the skills they need to compete in the digital economy. By 2020 we plan to have trained 1 million people across the country. This week, we’re honored to bring Community Boost home to Menlo Park and East Palo Alto from August 27 – 29.
This week we want to learn more about your challenges and victories as small business owners and community leaders and to share training to support you. We are excited to announce the development of new digital marketing certificate programs with Cañada College and Foothill College. (Update on October 31, 2018: We are also forming a similar partnership with Peralta Community College District.) Our partnerships with these community colleges will help ensure that you have access to resources and vital workforce development training long after this week’s events end.
Local Small Businesses and the Demand for Digital Skills
According to the Small Business Administration, 99.2% of California businesses are considered small. Despite being members of a community considered to be a global technology hub, many small business owners and job seekers in East Palo Alto and the surrounding towns felt they lacked expertise in digital skills they believed important to their growth.
- Demand for digital skills: When surveyed, 8 in 10 small businesses told us that when looking to hire employees for their businesses, digital skills were important. When asked about where a candidate went to school, only half of small businesses stated that was an important factor.
- Skills gap in social media: Over half (51%) of small business workers said that creating a social media presence is important to growing their business, but only about 1 in 10 (11%) said that their skills in this area were excellent.
We believe that our partnerships with Cañada College, Foothill College, Peralta Community College District, and more than 20 community colleges across the US will contribute to digital marketing programs designed to meet many of these digital skills demands, and supply local small businesses a workforce that can contribute immediately to small business growth.
Serving our Community is Important to Us
We’re thankful to be members of the Menlo Park and East Palo Alto community and are committed to doing our part to help it thrive. For more information about our small business initiatives and Facebook Community Boost, find us at: facebook.com/communityboost.
Coming Soon: Community Hub in Menlo Park
We’re also thrilled to announce plans for a new Community Hub, opening in Menlo Park in 2019. Our Menlo Park Community Hub will offer a dedicated space for community organizations like, Year Up, Streetcode Academy, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, One East Palo Alto and others to host internship and workforce training, coding and technology courses, and community development for local residents.