Mayor Crystal Ruiz urges SJ citizens to ‘Grow with Google’ for higher income jobs
■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
San Jacinto mayor Crystal Ruiz cannot stop talking about “Grow with Google,” after her trip to Washington D.C. in January for The United States Conference of Mayors’ 86th Winter Meeting. Now, we have a better idea of why exactly she’s so excited.
“[Google’s] whole goal is to help out communities like ours,”said Ruiz. “They want to help folks that are sitting there thinking they’re in a dead-end job, that are living paycheck to paycheck.”
Now, while a trip to the nation’s capitol sounds too good to pass up, Ruiz affirms that her trip to Washington was not to sightsee, but rather to use her time to talk shop with the other mayors and national partners.
“I didn’t want to come back empty-handed,” she explained. “I wanted to come back getting the most out of it for the community that I could, because that’s who I was representing.”
During an education panel, Ruiz sat two seats away from Susan Molinari, vice president for public policy at Google. After Molinari made a comment suggesting that not all people necessarily fit the “college” mold, Ruiz’ interest was instantly piqued.
“I gave her my business card, and then I proceeded to tell her about our community,” said Ruiz. “I told her about the people, I told her about the community, and I let her know that we needed help.”
That is when Molinari introduced “Grow with Google” to Mayor Ruiz.
Grow with Google is essentially a college alternative that offers its students free training, tools, and events to help individuals develop their skills so that they can pursue careers in Internet Technology (IT).
This is achieved by providing courses in digital basics with video-based curriculum, computer science club programs for grade schools to high schools, virtual and augmented field trips, interactive learning modules, and more.
For example, the Google IT Support professional certificate program, is a first-of-its-kind online program designed to prepare people for entry-level occupations in IT support, including: in-person or remote help desk work, database programming, web designing, coding, cyber security, etc. either at a small business or a global company like Google.
“It was really important to me to make sure that we can stop as many people from living the way we had to live as we can. The more people that we can get off that minimum wage job, the better off they’re going to be, and the community is going to be.”
Once certified, students with a Google education can generally go out into the field and find a job with a starting salary of roughly $52,000, Ruiz was told. And that’s entry-level.
“They might not be able to build a Google building out here, but they can train our folks to be skilled enough to get a job that’s going to be a higher paying job,” assured Ruiz. “And if you don’t want to work for Google, they have other options, and the best part, to me, is that they not only teach you the skills, but they help you get the jobs.”
While Ruiz applauds adults considering returning to higher education, she couldn’t help but acknowledge the flaws in today’s modern educational institutions.
“Colleges can’t keep up with technology because everything is changing so fast,” she explained. “So the reality is that people come out with a college degree, and they have to be re-trained. That’s a problem. That’s a problem for business owners and that’s a problem for the IT industry.”
Ruiz’ own husband, who has been unemployed for years, signed up for the program recently and within the first two weeks he was learning how to build and deconstruct computers himself. Ruiz herself has tried her hand at the program’s 7-day free trial, which made her realize that it could really benefit the community of San Jacinto.
“I know this from personal experience—you have to have a better paying job because you can’t live on minimum wage, it just doesn’t cut it,”she said. “Most politicians don’t get that, but I happen to be one who will never forget that. We wanted alternative options for our college students, because I think there are a lot of programs we can implement.”
The Google IT Support professional certificate program is fast-paced and designed for completion in eight to 12 months. The courses consist of short, easy-to-understand modules two to ten minutes in length, actively engaging students while they learn. The classes are entirely online, and even feature global chat rooms so that Google students can interact with each other, comparing and contrasting their learning experiences.
The program costs $49 a month, however scholarships are available for those who can’t afford it, and Ruiz encourages those interested to reach out to her personally for help or with their questions.
“If anybody has any issues, they can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they can give me the details, and I can forward it to [Molinari] and she can get somebody on it to help take care of it,” Ruiz promised. “[Molinari] told me, ‘let me know if the tech people don’t take care of it, because I will take care of it’. She really wants to see this community succeed.” Ruiz explained that Molinari has personally assigned Google technicians to assist San Jacinto directly, because of their interaction in Washington.
Mayor Ruiz stressed that this program is geared specifically toward adults wanting to provide more for their families who may be struggling financially, and not to feel discouraged if they aren’t particularly computer savvy.
“Literally, you go in knowing nothing about computers, and in two weeks you’re building a computer,” she reiterated. “I think it’s a brilliant, brilliant program.”
Ruiz is in contact with Molinari on a regular basis and hopes that the people of San Jacinto will give Grow with Google a chance.
“The biggest thing is getting our story out to folks and really asking for help. That’s the one thing that nobody else did [at the Mayors’ Conference]. I’ve learned a long time ago that if you don’t ask for help, you’re never going to get anything. So we have to ask for help for our community.”
Grow with Google can be accessed by going to https://grow.google. If you have any questions, concerns, or requests for a scholarship application, please contact Mayor Crystal Ruiz at email@example.com or call her at City Hall, tel: 951- 487-7330.