Google gives $156,000 to youth programs near its Nebraska data centers

By: - December 8, 2023 10:54 am

Google provides some memento buttons for guests at a 2022 event announcing a Nebraska expansion project. (Cindy Gonzalez/Nebraska Examiner)

OMAHA — About $156,000 in grants from global technology giant Google will go to seven Omaha area entities that provide education and job training.

Google’s data center community grants program aims to support initiatives near and around its data centers.

The latest awards, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, go to nonprofits and schools working on STEM education, efforts to bridge the digital divide, sustainability initiatives and the small business ecosystem.

Grant recipients and projects:

  • Latino Center of the Midlands, for a new technology-related skills-building project within the Siembra Nebraska internship program for middle and high school students.
  • Whispering Roots, to support STEM, nutrition and culinary education programming for disadvantaged elementary and high school students.
  •  Bellevue Public Library, to increase access to digital resources that break down social and cultural barriers to STEM education.
  • Springfield Platteview Education Foundation, to help Platteview High School increase the number of health and training courses available to students.
  • Kids Can Community Center, to equip a new technology room intended to enhance  STEMsmart Academy out-of-school-programming for North and South Omaha youth.
  • Papillion Community Foundation, to support the Papillion La Vista Media Academy, which expands student production capabilities for community-focused live broadcasts.
  • Bellevue University, to develop an early-STEM Exposure Program for local high school students.

The chief executive of one of the nonprofits said the Google grant will help build technology job skills among youth while also offering them opportunity to showcase and learn the history and contributions of local Latino pacesetters.

“Young people will get hands-on experience with hardware and software, gain inspiration from the stories of community leaders, and explore new careers in tech,” said Albert Varas of the Latino Center of the Midlands.

Matt Sexton, Google public affairs manager, called 2023 an exciting year for the company in Nebraska, as it expands its footprint in Douglas and Sarpy Counties and also in Lincoln, with a new $600 million data center announced in August.

“This annual program is just one way that Google proudly supports the Cornhusker State,” he said.

Google first broke ground on a data center in Nebraska in Papillion in 2019. Since then, it expanded at that site, added a data center project in northwest Omaha, near State Street and Blair High Road, and announced a $350 million investment in its existing Council Bluffs data center campus.

According to a company statement, Google has invested more than $3 billion across its data center projects in Papillion, Omaha and Lincoln.


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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics.