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Facebook Partners on New Program to Provide Digital Skills Training to Minority Communities

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Facebook has announced a new initiative, in conjunction with Goodwill Partners and Coursera, that will provide accredited social media ad digital marketing training to over 6,000 job seekers in the US, free of charge, via a new scholarship program.

The program is designed to help people from minority backgrounds to get back to work, and to capitalize on rising opportunities within the digital marketing space.

As explained by Goodwill:

“This new training program is intended to increase diversity, and eliminate barriers to entry in this rapidly growing field of work. As part of Facebook Elevate’s commitment to diversity, the grant will enable Goodwill to offer holistic support to Black learners, providing eligible participants with services including career planning, résumé building and other supports as needed.”

The program will encompass five digital marketing courses, all designed for learners with no prior industry experience, ultimately awarding each participant that follows through to completion with a Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate.

“This self-paced online program is designed to be completed within 20 weeks and includes 100 hours of hands-on, project-based training. After completing the program, learners will receive an industry-recognized certificate that they can use to apply for entry-level social media marketing roles.”

The initiative aims to address a key element of societal impact, and inequality, as a result of the pandemic. 

Facebook’s own State of Small Business research has shown that the COVID-19 mitigation efforts have disproportionately impacted people of color in the US, with businesses in majority-minority neighborhoods suffering poorer business outcomes overall, including significantly higher closure rates.

By providing more support for people of color, who are less likely to have access to such training tools and programs, the initiative aims to be another element in closing the skills gap.

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The program will be delivered via Facebook Elevate, its community and learning platform, which it launched back in 2018 with the stated intention of ‘accelerating the economic success and impact of entities of color’. Facebook launched a major update for Elevate last October, in response to the pandemic, while in February, it also showcased a range of businesses that have taken part in Elevate training thus far.

This new expansion will aim to provide a more direct link between job seekers and rising demand for digital skills, which could have a big impact, not just on the participants themselves, but also in expanding those opportunities within impacted communities.

The program will allocate the new digital training scholarships shortly.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Ahead of World Cup, influencer ‘Mr Q’ lifts veil on Qatar

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Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar – Copyright AFP KARIM JAAFAR

Raphaelle Peltier

At a time when prickly questions are being asked about Qatar and its hosting of the World Cup, Khalifa Al Haroon offers a smile, a sigh and a shrug as he seeks to explain its mysteries.

Known to his growing number of followers as Mr Q, the 38-year-old has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil over the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state that describes itself as a “conservative” Islamic country.

The first World Cup in an Arab nation has put a spotlight on Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers, gender rights and even the use of air conditioning in stadiums.

Haroon’s cheerful #QTip videos broach everything from saying “Hello” in Arabic to the right way for men to wear the flowing ghutra headdress. There is also an edition on labour rights.

With less than 60 days to the November 20 start of the tournament, he now has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 115,000 on YouTube. And the numbers keep growing.

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Qatar has dozens of online influencers on topics ranging from “modest” but expensive fashion, to the latest sports car being imported into what is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Haroon carved out his niche by elucidating Qatar’s unknowns to its growing expat community — and now the hordes of football fans expected for the World Cup.

Haroon — who was born to a Qatari father and British mother and spent 16 years in Bahrain — said he was first confronted by global stereotypes about Qatar and the Middle East while studying for a law degree in Britain.

He had wanted to become an actor, but instead launched his social media presence in 2008 with a blog.

“I was in the perfect position because I was a Qatari who has never lived properly in Qatar,” he said.

– ‘Trust your own eyes’ –

“In essence, I was like a foreigner in my own country and so I had the same questions that foreigners did, and so it just made it easy for me to start putting together information.”

Haroon said there has to be a distinction between “negative news” and misinformation about his country.

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“When it comes to fake news, obviously, I think everybody understands that it’s not true and so the only thing that I could do is show people videos and pictures and show them what we’re really like because you can trust your own eyes.”

Some people, he said, have told him they decided to move to Qatar after watching his videos.

Haroon, who is now a consultant to the Qatar Football Association and an eSports entrepreneur, said he is excited about the World Cup “because people can now come here and experience it for themselves and make their own judgements instead of just believing what’s written”.

His main grouse is how outsiders see something negative about Qatar and then believe that all Qataris “accept it or we all agree with it”.

Many supporters of the 31 foreign countries who will play in Qatar have raised concerns, however, about the welcome awaiting them. Can they drink? And what will happen to same-sex couples in a country where homosexuality is illegal?

The government has insisted that beer, normally restricted, will be available and that everyone is welcome. Haroon wants outsiders to experience “real Qatari hospitality”, with its food and coffee culture.

“Of course there are going to be certain social norms,” said Haroon. “What we are asking for is just respect the country. And of course the country will definitely be respecting everyone that comes.”

“Some people might make mistakes because they don’t know what the rules are and that’s OK,” he added.

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“The point is our culture is all about intention, our religion is about intention, so as long as you have good intentions and you want to do the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.”

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