Listen to “Where the Internet Lives,” Google’s podcast about data centers.
Data centers are at the heart of twenty-first century solutions to challenges facing our communities. People around the world rely on the products and services our data centers provide around the clock to help them learn new skills, stay in touch with friends and family, and launch businesses. Deeper than that, our data centers are an integral part of the fabric of communities where they are located. This rings true for Google’s 23 data centers across the globe, from Iowa to Ireland.
As the manager of the Google Data Center global workforce development program, I am proud to represent the company to stakeholders from all sorts of backgrounds. When I present “Data Centers 101” to audiences, they are often awestruck at the fact that the internet actually lives in physical locations. But what really gets them is the multitude of ways our data centers help take on intersectional issues facing our communities.
[learn more about Google data centers, including our workforce, in our podcast Where the Internet Lives]
As the world slowly emerges from a historic pandemic, our community members remain faced with challenges that are holding them back from reaching their full potential. That’s why, more than ever, Google is focused on listening to the needs of our data center communities and working with them to identify solutions.
These solutions in urban and rural communities alike include narrowing the digital divide, building diversity, equity, and inclusion into Google’s work, leading the way toward a carbon-free future, partnering with HBCUs and organizations like the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and connecting young people, veterans, business owners, and educators to resources like trainings and tools that can help them grow.
This type of impact is why I wanted to bring my almost two decades of workforce development experience to Google. In addition, I am excited by the people-focused mentality and belief in the “art of the possible” that our team brings to work each day. Because behind all the racks of powerful servers and high-speed network cables, our data centers are run by real people. People who not only make up the backbone of what we do, but inspire us to strive for greater heights.
The data center industry has a role in creating a better future for all. How can we keep equity and justice in mind as we look to develop the talent pipeline we need for data center jobs? How can we continue ensuring we are sustainable while meeting surging demand? How can we continue to build our engagement with communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, climate change, and other systemic injustices?
The Google Data Centers global workforce development team is focused on demystifying industry careers by getting out into the rural and urban communities where we operate and talking to young people, students, and community partners. We are driving support for underrepresented groups within the industry coalitions and organizations that we are a part of. We are providing skill- and knowledge-building opportunities like coding camps, job shadowing, and programs for young women in STEM fields. And this fall, Uptime Institute, in collaboration with Google and other industry leaders, is launching an interactive Career Pathfinder website that will provide a taxonomy of the hundreds of different jobs and roles in data centers, and the types of skills and minimum education requirements for each.
What keeps me hopeful is knowing that the data center industry can play a vital role in strengthening all communities and taking on global challenges together. And our team at Google is leading the way by focusing on empowering the people in our communities so that they can reach their full potential. We, as an industry, have an immense opportunity to make a difference.