Google opens learning center in its Chelsea headquaters

Author: Maria Diaz

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Google debuted Monday morning a free tech training hub in its Chelsea headquarters in a storefront once filled by Banana Republic.

The tech company has run its Grow with Google educational program for a few weeks in other locations, but is now extending this initiative into a five-month commitment in New York City and dedicating its first physical space to the endeavor.

Monday through Saturday, Google staff and their peers across the city offer workshops, one-on-one coaching and other training opportunities in the Grow with Google learning center, located on Eighth Avenue between 15th and 16th streets. Lessons focus on coding, website building, SEO training and how educators can best teach tech skills.

Small business owners and nonprofit administrators are most likely to benefit from the curriculum, according to Google spokeswoman Carley Graham Garcia.

"Our goal and hope with the space is when New Yorkers come to it and leave (after) a free workshop, they have enough to get a job or grow a business," Graham Garcia said.

Architects aimed to make the two-floor learning center inviting to passersby with bright lighting and large windows. 

 

Interactive kiosks on the ground floor provide resume improvement tips as well as advice for small businesses. Google experts there are prepared to answer basic questions and provide instruction on a walk-in basis. 

Three classrooms — one on the ground floor and two on the second — contain modular desks, a smart TV screen and Chromebooks for students. These instruction areas can collectively accommodate 80 students, according to Google.

Upcoming classes include Get Your Business Online, Design an Effective Resume and Intro to Coding for Students.

Google crafted the curriculum after getting input from the New York Public Library, the United Federation of Teachers, the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce and the city's Tech Talent Pipeline program.

"We talked very specifically about the different audiences that we wanted to reach," Graham Garcia said. 

She added that other groups and businesses can request to use space in the learning center for classes online.

Grow with Google's plans have generated buzz among community leaders, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. 

"Tech related skills are essential for people looking for jobs in the modern economy, and Grow with Google will go far toward helping New Yorkers gain the expertise they need to thrive," Brewer said in a statement.