FAYETTEVILLE – Google and other partners are unveiling a new program today designed to help thousands of military spouses find jobs and launch their own businesses.

The Internet giant is offering through “Grow with Google” tools for technical support training focusing on remote work in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. And the Blue Star Families organization is also offering digital skills training. The effort is to kick off today at Fort Bragg, one of the world’s largest military bases and home to thousands of US Armed Forces members as well as their families.

By focusing on training to work remotely, the partners say the program will enable spouses to find work or businesses that they can maintain as husbands and wives go through redeployments.

In a Q&A with WRAL TechWire, Lilyn Hester, head of Southeast External Affairs who lives in Durham and is an “Army Brat” talks about the program and why Google chose to be involved.

  • Why is Google involved in this program?

Military spouses are the unsung heroes of our armed forces. With frequent moves and families to care for while their partners are deployed, military spouses face steep challenges when trying to land a meaningful job.

According to a recent study by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, there are nearly 700,000 military spouses living in the United States. At 16 percent, military spouses have a much higher unemployment rate than the country at large. The rate of underemployment is also 55 percent.

  • How does Google believe its participation will be helpful to military spouses?

As part of Grow with Google, our initiative to help create economic opportunities, we are releasing a series of tools and resources to help military spouses in today’s economy. Technology offers unprecedented opportunities for military spouses to work from wherever they are. Our goal is to connect them with meaningful remote job opportunities and provide training resources to help them succeed.

  • Regarding the high unemployment rate for military spouses how can google help to get more of them working?

Our goal is to make it easier for military spouses to find flexible jobs they can hold onto through frequent moves. By creating a “work from home” filter on job search, military spouses are able to connect with potential employers. Through our grant to Institute for Veterans and Military Spouses, we are also helping to train over 1,000 military spouses in tech support, one of the fastest growing fields in the country.

  • What exactly is Google providing?

We’ve announced new tools and resources designed to help military spouses build flexible, meaningful careers.

In addition to a new work-from-home jobs search filter, the tech company released training materials designed to teach the digital skills and best practices needed to work remotely.

Blue Star Families, a leading nonprofit supporting military spouses and our partner, will provide in-demand digital skills training workshops throughout the next year. Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, will also support the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) to provide 1,500 scholarships and support services for military spouses to complete the Google IT Professional Support Certificate through IVMF, an interdisciplinary academic institute housed at Syracuse University focused on advancing the lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families.

Starting today, the new training materials created are accessible to anyone with a web connection.  Applied Digital Skills, Grow with Google’s free, online digital skills training program for all ages, released a new lesson called “Connect and Collaborate from Anywhere with Digital Tools” to teach remote workers tools to succeed in the digital office.

Primer, Grow with Google’s app for small businesses and job seekers, will also offer new lessons called “Finding or transitioning to remote work,” “keys to working remotely,” and “Collaborating while working remotely.”