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Google unveils $15 million fund to help underserved communities fill AI skill gaps

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Google has announced a new $15 million fund called the AI Opportunity Fund: Asia-Pacific through Google.org to help people in underserved communities develop important AI skills and build confidence in communities in the region. As part of the plans, selected organisations will receive support about AI in their local languages and there will be cash grants to remove learning barriers such as limited education resources.

According to Google, people in the Asia-Pacific region view AI with optimism and think it will have a positive impact on how we work, learn, and get information. The region could see $3 trillion in economic benefits by the end of the decade if AI is fully adopted in products and solutions so ensuring people have the necessary skills is very important.

As part of the plans, Google.org is going to partner with the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to identify social impact organisations that can deliver AI training in local languages, much like Europe, Asia has a diverse array of languages so ensuring collaboration with social impact organisations can help to maximise the reach of this initiative.

Commenting on the news, Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of AVPN, said:

“Building an AI-ready workforce is essential to unlock Asia's full potential and support organizations that are already actively working to ensure that the benefits of AI can reach more workers.”

According to the search giant, the AVPN working with local partners will identify AI-related challenges and opportunities to help job-seekers in underserved communities, as well as micro and small businesses in the region who could use AI to improve their offerings.

This funding will help deliver skills that complement Google’s existing digital and AI skills initiatives in the region. Some of these materials include the AI Essentials course for beginners, the AI Startup School for entrepreneurs, and Google Cloud AI programs for businesses.

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