By Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer

By 2024, more than 1 million computing and digital jobs will be open in the US. Filling these jobs is critical to our economy and our communities – and we want to help more people learn the skills they need to thrive in the digital world.

That’s why we’re committed to training 1 million people and small business owners in digital skills across the US by 2020. To meet this goal, we’re creating more in-person training programs, offering online classes, and partnering with local and national organizations who will help teach digital skills in their communities.

Today our Facebook Community Boost program is in Columbus, Ohio where we’re announcing two new partnerships — one locally with the Columbus State Community College and another with the National Urban League.

Supporting Small Business and Communities in Columbus, Ohio

We’re thrilled to bring our free Community Boost training program to one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Columbus is known as the “biggest small town in America” because of its friendly and entrepreneurial spirit. Small businesses make up 99.9% of Ohio business and many of them make their home in Columbus and Franklin County. This area is also home to Facebook’s data center in New Albany, which supports hundreds of jobs in the region.

Over the next few days we’ll be at the Columbus Athenaeum hosting training sessions, interactive workshops and speakers, all focused on helping local businesses and non-profits boost their digital skills. All of the courses are free and available to everyone in the community no matter what your skill level. You’ll also get to hear from inspiring local entrepreneurs who will share what they learned about starting a new business.

Our commitment to Columbus goes well beyond this week’s events. Through our partnership with Columbus State Community College (CSCC) we’re developing a new Digital Marketing Program so students can take digital marketing and social media classes that will help prepare them for jobs. We’ll work closely with the CSCC to structure classes so they reflect what we learned directly from Columbus jobseekers, managers and local small businesses:

  • Columbus small businesses told us they believe social media is central to success, with nearly three in four (72%) saying that creating a social media presence for their company is important for growth. Yet less than one in five (19%) saying their skills in this area are excellent.
  • We also learned that small businesses value digital skills when hiring employees, with more than 8 in 10 (85%) small business managers telling us a person’s digital skills are important — nearly twice as many as those that value where a candidate went to school (44%).
  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of small business managers also said that creating targeted advertising online is important for business growth, but less than one in five (19%) said that their skills in this area are excellent.

Partnering with the National Urban League to Train Small Businesses Across the US

Another way we’re helping people learn digital skills is through partnerships like the one we’re announcing today with the National Urban League.

Our expanded collaboration with the National Urban League builds upon our existing work with Urban League affiliates in St Louis and Houston and will help us reach the underserved communities who need it most.

Starting in 2019, we’ll offer trainings in social media strategy and digital marketing at 13 National Urban League locations in the following cities: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; and Washington, D.C.

“The National Urban League will also join us as a national advisor, helping us create new opportunities for small businesses from underserved communities.
This partnership with Facebook perfectly encapsulates the focus of our mission on the intersection between digital technology and economic opportunity,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “The theme of our conference is ‘Save our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution,’ and empowering our entrepreneurs through the use of digital tools is a great example of how to make that happen.”

We’re grateful to partner with such an effective civil rights organization helping to change lives for the better.