LCC, community ‘Grow with Google’
By Aaron Wilton
Editor in Chief
LCC’s Gannon Building became the site of the third major Grow with Google event on Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10.
“Grow with Google: Lansing” was a free two-day demonstration and workshop event featuring one-on-one coaching, tech-related lectures and skill-developing, hands-on exhibitions.
The first two large-scale training events were in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City.
“Grow with Google is a new initiative to help people prepare for work, find jobs and grow their career,” said Erica Swanson, the Grow with Google head of community engagement. “It’s an economic opportunity initiative that Google launched in October (of 2017) that helps people really hone their skills; especially their digital skills.”
The various demo booths included Google Cardboard, Primer and a chance to make a custom emoji.
Swanson said the first day of the conference was focused on business-related technology skills, while the second day was tailored for educators, showing ways technology can be used in the classroom.
“Our goal is to train 1,000 people over the course of (two days),” Swanson said.
The workshops on Friday were packed full with standing room only. Topics included computer coding, using data to grow, online safety and online marketing.
Each destination of the Grow with Google tour gets a uniquely sculpted event to best provide information most desired by the area.
Partnering with LCC was a big boon to the “Grow with Google: Lansing” event, according to Swanson.
“Early in our conversations with leaders in and across Lansing we heard that we should come and partner closely with Lansing Community College,” she said. “We learned that you have a great space here.
“We reached out and from the very beginning this partnership has been extraordinary. We just think it’s the beginning of something really good.”
Swanson said about 70 Googlers (Google employees) worked at “Grow with Google: Lansing.” More than half of those Googlers have Michigan roots, she added.
Melvin Renfrow, a St. Johns native who works for the Michigan Supreme Court, attended the event.
“(My favorite part was) finding out a lot of the resources Google has available that are free, that I didn’t know about,” Renfrow said. “Really just learning about the availability of things that you didn’t know existed … I think that was cool.”
Another event-goer, Darcie Jacobson, shared her perspective. Jacobson is originally from Massachusetts, but now lives near Novi and works as an engineer for General Motors.
“So far, I really like this VR decorating thing because I’m really arts and crafts oriented,” Jacobson said. “I’m not really familiar with a lot of coding. This just kind of pulled me in.”
Swanson offered a few staggering statistics about Google’s impact in Michigan.
“Google is proud to call Michigan home,” she said. “We have two offices here, one in Ann Arbor and one in Birmingham-Detroit. We employ more than 600 Michiganders and we have customers everywhere throughout the state.
“When we calculate the economic impact of the work of those businesses using Google tools, we see that more than $1.5 billion was generated in economic activity last year for businesses, website publishers, and non-profits. That’s in Michigan!”
If community members missed the in-person event but want the chance to learn from a behemoth of the online space, there is good news: Grow with Google lives on the Internet at google.com/grow.
The next Grow with Google conference is in Louisville, Ky. on Thursday, March 29.