• Google/Goodwill helping to build more IT talent

    By: Gina Esposito

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - At any given time, there are around 9,000 IT jobs posted in Charlotte.

    Experts say there haven't been enough people with the right skills to fill the spots.

    On Friday, officials with tech giant Google announced a $300,000 grant to Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont. Money is being used to expand Goodwill's computer literacy courses to include free IT classes. The Charlotte-area nonprofit is one of 11 Goodwills nationwide to receive the gift through the new Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator initiative.

    "We've definitely targeted these classes to be areas where employers have jobs and they need talent,” Dana McDonald, director of Goodwill University, said.

    [More information about the programs offered]

    McDonald said Goodwill will be able to offer five advanced courses this spring. The courses focus on topics from web development to Salesforce.

    McDonald said some of the classes have already started at the Leon Levine Goodwill Opportunity Center on Wilkinson Boulevard.

    "It’s definitely a career change because I’m a hair stylist, so I'm trying to do something different because I love computers. I love technology,” said Bridget Grier, who is taking the A+/Helpdesk course that launched Monday.

    Yvonne Tottenham, who also enrolled in the course after getting out of the insurance industry last fall after nine years, said she is glad to know Goodwill will help her land an IT job after the eight-week program.

    "There are so many jobs out there, and I know, after this process, I'm not going to be alone,” Tottenham said. “They are going to be with me every step of the way.”

    Over the next three years, 825 people will have the opportunity to enroll in a course. Most can qualify with a high school diploma or GED.

    Charlotte City CouncilwomanLaWana Mayfield said it will have an impact on the Charlotte workforce.

    "This is needed by so many, so for us to be chosen out of a large pool, it is just an amazing opportunity,” Mayfield said.

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