In an effort to bridge the digital skills gap in the U.S., Facebook plans to train 1 million small business owners across the country.
Amy Brooks, the Business Education Director of Facebook, announced that the company is looking to develop local partnerships across the U.S, which will enable free skills training in areas like coding and digital marketing.
Citing a recent jobs study by Korn Ferry, Brooks pointed out that the skilled labor shortage in America could create 85.2 million unfilled jobs by 2030. As per the study, nearly $8.5 trillion revenue opportunity will be potentially lost if talent shortage is not addressed.
Facebook, during its interaction with local communities, has found some fresh insights. According to the social media firm, more than 95 percent of job seekers in Houston say it is important to have digital skills when looking for a job, yet only 15 percent rate their digital skills as excellent.
"While people tell us these skills are important, free resources are not easy to find. We want to help change that. Our plan is to work side by side with communities to provide more free in-person training, mentorship, and online courses," said Brooks in the company's official blog on Friday.
Last November, the company unveiled a digital initiative called Facebook Community Boost. This digital training program will expand to 50 U.S. cities by the end of 2018. The social media giant has also partnered with and trained more than 60 organizations in twelve U.S. cities.
By the end of the year, Facebook will team up with 20 community colleges to offer digital marketing training.
In July, Facebook will partner with Grand Circus in Michigan for a 12-week boot camp. The company aims to train 3,000 people in digital marketing and coding over the next two years. Facebook has trained 16 local organizations to date and has started running free workshops for hundreds of people across the state. According to Facebook, about 85 percent of the first coding boot camp graduates have either found a new or better paying job.
In the early fall of 2018, the company will launch Learn with Facebook, a free online training resource to equip people with digital skills.
In March 2015, Facebook launched Blueprint, a program that enables people to learn about Facebook and Instagram marketing at their own pace. Over 160,000 small businesses in the U.S. have been trained using Blueprint, and, by 2020, the company plans to train an additional 250,000.