Google to invest $300 million in Virginia, joins education partnership

(The Center Square) – Google has pledged to invest about $300 million into Virginia and joined a computer science partnership with Virginia’s K-12 public school system, community colleges and higher education centers, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Google announced Tuesday.

The governor’s office and Google estimate the $300 million investment will bring in about $8.8 billion of economic activity to the commonwealth.

In addition to that investment, the company will provide the state with a $250,000 grant for its computer science advocacy and service provider, CodeVA. CodeVA will work with Google and other stakeholders to develop a network of Computer Science Lab Schools, provide development opportunities for computer science teachers and expand computer science resources to teachers and students.

At this time, the state does not have any lab schools. Lawmakers are currently debating the specifics of two separate bills that would facilitate the creation of lab schools in the current special session. These schools would give parents an alternative to traditional public school education.

Google is also partnering with 23 colleges and five other higher education centers to provide professional certificates to help workers gain computer-related skills and competencies.

“Google’s investment and partnership announcement is a timely and exciting development for the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Code with Google and CodeVA will prepare the next generation of Virginia’s students for careers in computer science. As governor, I am committed to creating workforce development opportunities, expanding our computer science opportunities for Virginia’s students, and reestablishing high expectations in education. Now the general assembly must act to move forward with lab schools to maximize the potential of the partnerships announced today for the benefit of Virginia’s students.”

CodeVA intends to base its lab schools on the current CodeRVA model at the CodeRVA Regional High School in Richmond. CodeRVA and CodeVA seek to improve students’ computer literacy by giving them skills, such as coding.

“For the past 5 years CodeRVA Regional High School has partnered with 15 school divisions in the Richmond region to provide a rigorous computer science-focused education, and we know every student in the Commonwealth deserves the same opportunities as our students,” CodeRVA’s Executive Director, Kume Goranson, said in a statement.

“We look forward to collaborating with CodeVA and educational leaders across Virginia to share how our innovative model can be replicated to provide all students with access to both the academic knowledge and the work-based skills they need to enter the workforce or higher education,” Goranson said. “There are thousands of unfilled jobs in computer science and IT fields waiting on this next generation of learners and leaders to graduate!”

Google currently has more than 480 employees in Virginia with data centers in Loudoun County and an office in Reston.