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HBCUs get $1 million for digital skills training

In its latest move to promote racial equity, Google last week announced it’s investing $1 million in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to develop digital-skills workshops at historically Black colleges and universities. The nonprofit group, which provides scholarships and job readiness training to students at HBCUs around the country, will help Google design a digital-skills program with the goal of reaching 20,000 students by next fall. Called the “Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program,” training will include subjects like design thinking, project management and brand building — but also soft skills, like communication and running effective meetings. “Whether you’re going to Ohio State or you’re going to Spelman, the reality is workforce skills aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom,” said Andrea Horton, chief programs officer at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Colin Wood has more on the new partnership.

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Santa Fe, N.M., hopes for 'tech ecosystem' with university partnership

The City of Santa Fe, New Mexico, hopes that connecting academic researchers to its economic development efforts will create a “Silicon Valley of the Southwest,” Liz Camacho, the city’s economic development administrator, said last week. Camacho, who has been with the city for nearly three years, said her team is interested in integrating Santa Fe’s various technology companies and organizations to create a “tech ecosystem” of technologists, academics and policymakers. Santa Fe is home to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as a small business incubator and several higher education institutes, including Santa Fe Community College, University of New Mexico-Los Alamos and New Mexico Highlands University. But getting everybody on board — especially young people — is easier said than done, Camacho said. Read Ryan Johnston's full story over on StateScoop.

Texas A&M deploys self-swabbing COVID-19 testing kiosks

Texas A&M University has set up walk-up coronavirus testing kiosks to increase the accessibility of COVID-19 testing and to improve data collection, which will be used to inform the university’s outbreak prevention strategy, the university announced last week. The three outdoor walk-up testing locations, created by the coronavirus testing company Curative, are to help the university’s COVID-19 testing program better identify pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The kiosks will be available to Texas A&M’s more than 64,000 students and approximately 10,000 faculty and staff currently on campus. “If you want to control a pandemic, you really have to have an aggressive testing program, and you need to be able to test everybody,” said Angela Clendenin, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Betsy Foresman reports.

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