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During the 2021 Essence Festival of Culture’s Wealth & Power experience, Essence Senior News & Politics Editor Malaika Jabali spoke with Executive Vice President of Customer Care with Google, Cassandra Johnson.

For more of everything you missed during the 2021 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Wealth & Power experience, click HERE.

During the segment, the two discussed the initiative “Grow with Google,” what the tech giant is doing to help Black women develop and hone their technological skills, and why it’s important that Black women help other Black women.

Johnson kicked off the conversation by discussing the “Grow with Google” initiative.

“Grow with Google” is our economic opportunity initiative. Over six million Americans have trained in digital skills since 2017 through a network of more than eight thousand amazing partner organizations including local libraries, schools, sororities and nonprofits. In my organization in particular we work to leverage to grow Google workshops through our partnership with urban league affiliates to train participating small businesses and digital skills.”

Johnson believes that technology is the key to presenting new opportunities for communities in the U.S.

“When those opportunities are available to everyone…then communities across the country can achieve their full potential. It is critical that we meet Americans where [Black women] are at…and that’s important to us,” Johnson said.

The Google executive said the “Grow with Google” initiative was created by Black women.

“A key part of success is Black women supporting Black women. This is truly powerful since it exemplifies meeting Black women where they are now and supporting them now,” Johnson said.

Johnson says this initiative and many others are necessary because since the start of 2020, Black women have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. Johnson added that Google launched a program this year to help Black women develop digital skills to enhance their chances of landing employment.

“Now we launched ‘Black Women Lead’ with the goal to train a 100 thousand Black women…in digital skills by 2022. Now we’re not going to do this alone. We’re partnering with Dress for Success, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sigma Gamma Rho, Zeta Phi Beta and last but not least as you already said Malaika, my sorors, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated to provide digital skills training and resources for Black women,” Johnson said.

Johnson says she knows how powerful it can be when Black women support other Black women.

“On a personal note, I know what it’s like for Black women to support one’s passion and dreams, since I was a creator and founder of Tigmir. Which is a sorority/fraternity apparel company. And just like the name stands for, to who much is given, much is required. That is what Black women at Google have done to step up on behalf of Black women around the country with the ‘Black Women Lead’ initiative,” Johnson said.

Check out the full conversation in the video above. Level up your professional skills with free workshops from Grow with Google: Black Women Lead. Workshops begin August 16 — register now to reserve your spot.

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