Google invests $100,000 for Nevada workforce development
RENO, Nev. — Home to big tech, and boasting a swelling startup scene, it’s no secret that the greater Reno area is ripe for economic development.
Google — which owns 1,210 acres of land at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Reno for a future data center — wants to help Northern Nevada grow in more ways than one.
The tech giant is investing $100,000 with state partner JOIN Inc., a Reno-based workforce development agency, to help Nevadans develop digital skills needed for job placement and advancement.
The company announced the partnership Monday, Aug. 6, during its “Grow with Google” event at the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno.
Google set up shop in the Biggest Little City for a day as part of its initiative focused on helping boost economic opportunities around the country. Reno is the 12th city the Grow with Google tour has visited so far.
On Monday morning, with a constant stream of skill-seeking Nevadans of all ages funneling into the Nevada Museum of Art, it was plain to see that Reno has an appetite for digital literacy.
Jesse Haines, director of Grow with Google, said the company expected more than 500 Nevadans to participate in the one-day event Monday.
“This is clearly a city on the move,” Haines said. “I can feel it in the streets; I can feel it in this room.”
The free event featured a full day of trainings, workshops, boot camps, access to tools, one-on-one coaching from Google employees — known as “Googlers” — and plenty more.
Paige Wadleigh, a Reno-based social media manager, said she learned how to maximize Google business pages after a training session with a Googler.
“That was super helpful for me today,” Wadleigh said. “(I’m) taking advantage of everything that Google has to offer for small businesses, especially. There are so many tools out there and they’re great to have for businesses.”
Google.org President Jacquelline Fuller, who happens to be a Northern Nevada native, said she’s proud of the way Reno has turned itself around over the years.
“The movement that is going on here (in Reno) is incredible,” Fuller said. “I’m so proud to be back here and be part of a resurgent Reno and see all of the amazing things happening here. So, as Google, we’re thrilled to come here today as Grow with Google and be part of that resurgence.”
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller also spoke during Monday’s event, relaying how far the Silver State has come since the Great Recession. Currently, Nevada is No. 1 in the nation in job creation per capita, Heller said, and No. 2 in net migration — the number of people moving into the state — at a 5.5-percent annual increase.
Zooming in, Heller said the increased opportunities in Washoe County have spurred a significant amount of the state’s development. He expects that trend to continue — with Google’s help.
“When you start talking about growth and the potential and the dynamics of it, no county right now in the state of Nevada is growing quicker, faster and stronger than Washoe County,” Heller said. “That’s why I’m pleased that Google is here today. The purpose of this is to sustain this kind of growth and this kind of job creation in the near future. We’re seeing creations of jobs after jobs after jobs. And this technology is what’s going to keep this growth.”
Go to grow.google to learn more about Grow with Google opportunities.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.