Facebook to Teach Digital Literacy to 1 Million Small Businesses & Workers

Facebook’s Sandberg pledges company will provide digital literacy skills to 1 million U.S. small businesses and workers through three-part education outreach.


In a discussion with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin at the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Annual Meeting in Boston, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced that the company would train 1 million people with essential digital literacy skills by 2020 through three key in-person and online training opportunities.

Small businesses use technology to grow local economies and create jobs, she said, so the company is committed to expanding its robust in-person digital literacy training programs. The impetus, according to Sandberg, is that 80 million small businesses globally have a Facebook presence. It’s small businesses that drive economic growth, Sandberg said, and more than ever the workforce needs to develop social media and digital skills.

When Community Boost was launched in late 2017, Facebook cited research by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center, Facebook and Morning Consult that indicated 42 percent of small and medium-sized businesses say they’ve hired more people due to growth since joining Facebook. But the same small businesses regularly cite a lack of digital savvy.

Facebook Wants to Address Labor Shortage Projections with Digital Literacy Outreach

Facebook in partnership with local organizations, such as community colleges, put on training bootcamps as part of workforce development initiatives. Today, for example, Community Boost is at the Cable Center in Denver offering courses like “Taking Facebook Ads to the Next Level” and “Finding New Customers with Facebook.” According to Facebook’s Parisa Zagat, policy programs manager, “small businesses account for more than 97.6 percent of all Colorado businesses.”

Sandberg said to reach 1 million people and small businesses, the Community Boost program will now visit a total of 50 U.S. cities in 2018, up from the company’s initial 30-city goal, continue to add courses to its free Blueprint online advertising learning program, which currently offers 85 courses and certifications ($150 per exam), as well as launch a new e-Learning platform Learn with Facebook, this fall.

According to the Des Moines Register, the new workforce education platform has already been rolled out in Germany and India. The program is to be broader in scope than the digital marketing training offered to small businesses in order to address a skilled labor shortage projected by 2030.

According to the following video promo, Facebook’s newest platform is aimed at middle-skills development with fast, free courses and insider tips designed for both professionals and students looking to grow their career opportunities.

Andrea Fox is Editor of Gov1.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.