Google announced Wednesday that the company will be dedicating an additional $8 million to its justice reform work initiatives, particularly to help formerly incarcerated individuals reaccess the job force through training and by supporting the development of a national automatic clearance tool for criminal records.
Half of Google’s $8 million investment will go to a new Grow with Google Fund. $4 million will facilitate programming to build digital and career skills for at least 100,000 formerly incarcerated people by 2025. “Grow with Google” is a digital job skills and training program originally launched in 2017.
Organizations that serve formerly incarcerated individuals and want to partner with Grow with Google can apply to partner with the program.
The other half of the company’s investment is through grants through Google.org. Google.org is giving $4 million in grants to support Code for America in developing an automatic record clearance technology, to help state governments with clearing eligible criminal records. The program will also work to connect formerly incarcerated people with tech jobs in collaboration with Columbia University’s Justice through Code web development intensive and National Urban League’s Urban Tech Jobs Program.
Google.org is outfitting Code for America with a team of full-time Fellows to help develop technology to support Code for America’s Clear My Record project.
One in three people in America have some form of criminal record, according to the Sentencing Project and when that criminal record appears during a background check it can create substantial barriers to a person’s career and livelihood.
Nearly every state has laws that allow petitions to seal or clear their criminal record after a certain amount of time or following other prerequisites, creating a large class of criminal records across the country that are eligible to be cleared. Code for America’s goal is to create a national automatic record clearance system and clear all eligible criminal records in the U.S.
“By partnering with states, we will design and implement automatic record clearance policies at scale–and Google Fellows will help us accelerate that impact.” said Meilani Santillán, Program Director of Code for America’s Clear My Record Initiative, as part of the announcement. “The Clear My Record Initiative ultimately enables states to clear millions of eligible criminal records, effectively removing barriers to employment, housing, education, and other opportunities that support wellbeing.”
This summary was prepared by TCR Justice Reporting intern Audrey Nielsen.