Facebook has announced a new initiative, in conjunction with Goodwill Partners and Coursera, that will provide accredited social media ad digital marketing training to over 6,000 job seekers in the US, free of charge, via a new scholarship program.
The program is designed to help people from minority backgrounds to get back to work, and to capitalize on rising opportunities within the digital marketing space.
As explained by Goodwill:
"This new training program is intended to increase diversity, and eliminate barriers to entry in this rapidly growing field of work. As part of Facebook Elevate's commitment to diversity, the grant will enable Goodwill to offer holistic support to Black learners, providing eligible participants with services including career planning, résumé building and other supports as needed."
The program will encompass five digital marketing courses, all designed for learners with no prior industry experience, ultimately awarding each participant that follows through to completion with a Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate.
"This self-paced online program is designed to be completed within 20 weeks and includes 100 hours of hands-on, project-based training. After completing the program, learners will receive an industry-recognized certificate that they can use to apply for entry-level social media marketing roles."
The initiative aims to address a key element of societal impact, and inequality, as a result of the pandemic.
Facebook's own State of Small Business research has shown that the COVID-19 mitigation efforts have disproportionately impacted people of color in the US, with businesses in majority-minority neighborhoods suffering poorer business outcomes overall, including significantly higher closure rates.
By providing more support for people of color, who are less likely to have access to such training tools and programs, the initiative aims to be another element in closing the skills gap.
The program will be delivered via Facebook Elevate, its community and learning platform, which it launched back in 2018 with the stated intention of 'accelerating the economic success and impact of entities of color'. Facebook launched a major update for Elevate last October, in response to the pandemic, while in February, it also showcased a range of businesses that have taken part in Elevate training thus far.
This new expansion will aim to provide a more direct link between job seekers and rising demand for digital skills, which could have a big impact, not just on the participants themselves, but also in expanding those opportunities within impacted communities.
The program will allocate the new digital training scholarships shortly.