Facebook To Give New Orleans A Free ‘Boost’
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have publicly said they want to make it easier for people to find jobs and grow businesses by closing the digital skills gap, and if you want economies to grow and communities to thrive, you need to invest in people today.
With ‘friends’ like Facebook’s top execs, businesses from 50 cities around the country are taking part in the online social media giant’s Community Boost program that helps job seekers, small businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs grow their businesses and develop new digital skills needed to compete in today’s digital economy.
In November 2017, Facebook’s announcement went viral. It would visit 30 cities and bring its free training and workshops to users who want to get the most out of the internet. On Thursday, June 21, Facebook posted a status update. It will expand Community Boost to 50 cities and visit New Orleans from Tuesday, Aug. 7 - Thursday, Aug. 9.
“We’re inspired by what small businesses have been able to do using Facebook, but we want to do more—particularly for those who are transitioning to careers that require digital skills,” said Doug Frisbie, global marketing director of small business for Facebook. “Small businesses everywhere are using social media to grow and create new opportunities in their communities, so we’re bringing our training program to New Orleans to help local entrepreneurs learn those skills.”
With Community Boost, Facebook’s commitment to train one million U.S. businesses and job seekers by 2020, teaching digital skills they need in the workplace, is trending. Its timeline includes free in-person training and advice on how to grow your business or your career by learning how to connect with local businesses in your community; how to grow your personal network and get training that meets your needs; and how to improve your digital and social media skills – important components to running a modern business, hiring effective employees and driving local economies.
Facebook and its community partners are following small businesses and the communities they serve, investing though its #BoostTogether initiative. Facebook is adding to its 60 local partnerships in 12 U.S. cities to include 20 new community colleges partnerships by the end of the year to offer digital marketing training.
Facebook also wants to poke an additional 250,000 small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners by providing more online training courses through Blueprint, its free eLearning program that helps small businesses increase their Facebook and Instagram marketing activity. In the fall Facebook will launch Learn with Facebook, a free online training resource, to chat about new digital skills outside of just digital advertising.
“According to recent predictions, the skilled labor shortage in America could create 85.2 million unfilled jobs by 2030,” said Amy Brooks, Facebook’s business education director. “We are committed to helping reverse the skills gap in America by giving individuals and companies the tools they need to flourish.”
Facebook analytics show it has invested more than $1 billion to support small businesses since 2011; Boost Your Business has trained more than 60,000 small businesses in the U.S. and hundreds of thousands more around the world; more than one million small businesses have used Facebook’s free online learning hub Blueprint; and more than 70 million small businesses use Facebook’s free Pages tool to create an online presence.
According to online survey and market research company Morning Consult, the message is clear from southern SMBs. They are sure to like the upcoming Community Boost program:
• 84 percent of SMBs surveyed in Louisiana believe an individual’s digital and social media skills are important when hiring, more than those who think where an individual went to school is important.
• 75 percent of SMBs surveyed in Louisiana believe Facebook allows them to find customers in other cities, states or countries.
• 67 percent of SMBs surveyed in Louisiana agree Facebook is an essential tool for their business.
• 52 percent of SMBs surveyed in Louisiana say Facebook has helped them hire additional employees to work at their businesses.
Morning Consult also found U.S. SMBs’ use of digital impressions translate into new jobs and opportunities for communities across the country:
• 80 percent of U.S. SMBs on Facebook say the platform helps them connect to people in their local community.
• 62 percent of U.S. SMBs on Facebook say having digital or social media skills is an important factor in their hiring decisions — even more important than where a candidate went to school.
• 56 percent of U.S. SMBs on Facebook say they increased sales because of the platform; 52 percent say Facebook helps them sell products to other cities, states and countries.
• 42 percent of U.S. SMBs on Facebook say they’ve been able to hire more employees due to growth since joining Facebook.
• 30 percent of U.S. SMBs on Facebook say they built their business on Facebook.
• Businesses run by African Americans, Latinos, veterans and those with a disability are twice as likely to say their business was built on Facebook, and one and one half times more likely to say they’ve hired more people since joining the platform.
According to Facebook’s vice president of small business Dan Levy, Facebook’s Community Boost program views an organic reach. He said for job seekers, Facebook wants to provide training to help improve digital and social media skills, key qualification for many small businesses. For entrepreneurs, Facebook’s training programs are geared to strengthen their technological profile, turn an idea into a business or show ways to create a free online presence on Facebook. For business owners, Facebook wants to expand their digital footprint and help them find new customers. For beginners, Facebook is tagging them to learn digital literacy and online safety.