Google announced this week that it has provided a $50,000 grant to the Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) for the creation of a Rural LISC Alabama chapter. What will be known as the Google Alabama Rural Works P3 Cohort will seek to identify and train a diverse workforce, focusing on historically underrepresented populations, in the state’s northern counties.

“Rural communities across the country face unique hurdles in finding solutions to workforce challenges,” said Caitlin Cain, LISC Vice President and Rural Director. “And, with the demand for skilled talent in emerging technologies continuing to increase, the importance of preparing and upskilling the labor pool is critical.”

Google sponsored grant funding as part of its Global Data Center (GDC) Rise program, which supports programs, organizations and nonprofits whose work will lead to the creation of a robust pipeline of tech talent from underrepresented groups. 

“We recognize the hurdles so many Alabamians, like countless others across the nation, face and want to be part of the solution to ensure they are provided access to workforce training that will move them and their communities forward,” said Yolanda Washington, GDC Program Manager - Talent Pipeline. “The Rural LISC mission is one that is truly making a difference, and we are proud to broaden their footprint in this area.”

Rural LISC, a national program designed to expand LISC outreach from urban cities to rural communities, was established in 1995 and partners with over 140 rural organizations. The program assists rural organizations in identifying overlying issues, recognizes potential opportunities and gives appropriate assistance in needed areas. Rural LISC’s partnerships with community-based organizations expand over 2,200 counties across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. 

In Jackson County, the Google Alabama Rural Works P3 Cohort will use Northeast Alabama Community College as a hub for delivering short-term career technical tracks that complement Google’s regional workforce needs. Specifically, the institution will provide social services and educational support to assist women and black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) populations into in-demand careers. Potential training tracks include Certified Production Technician, Engineering Technician, Industrial Systems Technology and more.

“With the help of this generous grant from Google to enhance workforce ecosystems in rural Alabama, Rural LISC will be able to strengthen alignment of regional training systems in the 

rural tech sector,” added Cain. “This grant underscores Google’s commitment to investing in the innovation of rural communities to build the workforce of the future.”

Google has had a large physical and community-driven presence in North Alabama since announcing in 2015 that it would build a $600 million data center in Jackson County — the first of its kind in the state. Since 2017, Google has granted more than half a million dollars to organizations and sponsorships in Jackson County and throughout North Alabama.

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