© 2020 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News

Goodwill Lands $1.5M Grant To Expand Free Tech Training

Goodwill offers the free training at its "Opportunity Campus" on Wilkinson Boulevard.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
Goodwill offers the free training at its "Opportunity Campus" on Wilkinson Boulevard.

Goodwill's efforts to expand free technology training in Charlotte got another boost Tuesday — a $1.5 million grant from a big tech services company. 

New Jersey-based Cognizant announced it's setting up a $100 million foundation to help train people for technology jobs across the country. Its first grant of $1.5 million is going to Goodwill Industries, on Wilkinson Boulevard near the airport. Goodwill could wind up supplying workers for the company, but there's a broader goal says chief executive Francisco D'Souza.

CEO Chris Jackson of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont (right) speaks Tuesday as Goodwill received a $1.5 million grant from the Cognizant U.S. Foundation. Listening are (from left) U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and Cognizant CEO Frank D'Souza.
Credit Goodwill/Cognizant U.S. Foundation
CEO Chris Jackson of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont (right) speaks Tuesday as Goodwill received a $1.5 million grant from the Cognizant U.S. Foundation. Listening are (from left) U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and Cognizant CEO Frank D'Souza.

"We want to create a digital workforce that can seek out employment opportunities across the many sectors of the economy that are being changed by digital technology today," D'Souza said. "And some of those opportunities will be with Cognizant but many of them will be outside of Cognizant." 

The company said it has about 3,000 employees in North Carolina, including 900 or so in Charlotte.

The grant will help expand Charlotte's Goodwill University which provides free digital literacy and advanced technology training, especially for people who face barriers to economic mobility such as a lack of education or criminal records.

Goodwill plans to use the cash to expand advanced training and build a new digital training lab, according to its chief executive Chris Jackson.

"We'll be able to serve an additional 4,000 people to receive these trainings over the next three years," Jackson said. "We're targeting about 400 to receive industry-recognized credentials."

Jackson says training and certifications will include areas such as computer help desk, cloud computing, Salesforce administration and software development.  

This is Goodwill's second large grant in recent weeks. Last month, it received $300,000 from Google — also to expand advanced training.

Stay informed: Sign up for The Frequency newsletter and get WFAE headlines in your inbox every weekday.

We Need Your Help Now More Than Ever

WFAE mask

Our newsroom is hard at work covering everything from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the aftermath of the election, the race for a vaccine and our communities' fight to rebuild. But we can't do it without you. Support our local journalism with a donation of ANY amount, and we’ll send you a free WFAE member mask courtesy of AllDayMask.com of Monroe.