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Google CEO Sundar Pichai visits Pittsburgh to showcase $1B in global grants

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, 12:51 p.m.
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto before an event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto before an event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (second from right) as Walnut Capital development executives Todd Reidbord (far left) and Gregg Perelman look on before an event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Google CEO Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (second from right) as Walnut Capital development executives Todd Reidbord (far left) and Gregg Perelman look on before an event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai speaks at an event to announce set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai speaks at an event to announce set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf after and event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf after and event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai speaks at an event to announce set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai speaks at an event to announce set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf after and event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai (second from left) talks with Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf after and event to announce a set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai speaks at an event to announce set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai speaks at an event to announce set of new economic programs that Google will implement in the city of Pittsburgh at Google's headquarters in Bakery Square, Thursday, October 12, 2017.

Google will hand out $1 billion in grants over the next five years to nonprofits around the world to prepare people to find jobs and start businesses on their own, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The grants will go toward closing the world's education gap, giving people the digital skills needed to find work and making sure everyone has a chance to benefit from the new economy.

The announcement came and Pichai rolled out Grow with Google , an initiative in the United States to help with digital literacy and small business development.

"Grow with Google is there to give anyone in America the tools and training they need to get a job, for free," Pichai said.

The initiative includes online job training and programs to earn professional certificates. Google will sponsor 2,600 full scholarships to attend an eight-to-12-month course in IT support. One hundred of those scholarships will go to people in Pittsburgh through Partner4Work.

Google employees will also volunteer 1 million hours with nonprofits.

"We hope the 1 million hours can make a difference," Pichai said.

Pichai chose Google's office in Pittsburgh to announce Grow with Google. The first time Pichai left India 24 years ago, he came to Pittsburgh to stay with his aunt and uncle. He said he remembered riding up and down the city's hills in their car and feeling a little carsick.

"Pittsburgh amazed me when I first arrived here," Pichai said. "And I feel that more than ever today. I'm excited to see all the ways the people of this city will build a future that works for them, and for everyone."

Pichai spoke in a new part of the company's growing office at Bakery Square. The office is famous for quirky working spaces, like a Kennywood rollercoaster car or a giant net hung from the ceiling. The event, attended by state and local political and business leaders featured food and drink from Pittsburgh-area businesses like Superior Motors in Braddock and Zeke's Coffee in Pittsburgh.

Pichai took time Thursday to tell the story of Homewood resident Nisha Blackwell, who used videos on YouTube to start Knotzland , a bow tie company. Blackwell said she knows of many people in her neighborhood who will make use of Google's services. http://knotzland.com/

"It's going to be a game changer for small businesses in the Pittsburgh area," Blackwell said.

Pichai also announced a $10 million donation to Goodwill, the largest single donation the company has ever given. Goodwill will use the money to provide digital skills training to more than 1 million people.

Pichai visited Langley K-8 on Thursday to talk to teachers and students there about Google's Dynamic Learning Project.

Laura Dickey, the program manger of Google Shopping at the company's Pittsburgh office, announced the Impact Challenge on Thursday as well. The program is separate from Grow with Google and offers Pittsburgh-area nonprofits a chance to win one of five $50,000 grants. Nonprofits will submit applications to Google and a board of a advisors will select four recipients. The public will then have the chance to vote for a fifth project.


Correction: An earlier version of this headline misspelled Sundar Pichai 's name.

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