Geoff Pender, The Clarion-Ledger
Speaking in San Jose, California at Facebook’s F8 gathering of tech folks, startups and others, Zuckerberg said that 2018 has been an “intense year” just four months in. (May 1) AP
Facebook has chosen Jackson as one of 30 cities it will visit in 2018 as part of its Community Boost program to provide free training to help small businesses grow and provide people digital skills to compete for jobs.
Facebook announced Thursday that Jackson will joinHouston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Denver and Greenville, South Carolina, among others for the free training program. It will be in Jackson Sept. 18-19. Details of the training for Jackson are being worked out and will be tailored using input from local business owners and job seekers.
Small business owners, entrepreneurs and job seekers from digital beginners to advanced can find classes to benefit them, said Aneesh Raman, who manages Facebook’s global economic impact programs. He said hopes are that the program will “launch training and conversations and local partnerships that continue.”
In the first few cities it’s been held, everyone who applied was accommodated, Raman said.
Raman said the training focuses on using Facebook and Instagram, but is not aimed at marketing those platforms and their products.
“First, I would say that what we know best and what we know small businesses want us most to help them with is our products,” Raman said. “The core is Facebook and Instagram, but the skills can be applied to every digital tool and platform out there, and we encourage businesses to get online and try all the tools out there.
“We’ve been talking to small businesses and job seekers across the country. They know they need digital skills they don’t have. We don’t have to convince them of it.”
Facebook says it did polling in Mississippi and found that 48 percent of small businesses said Facebook is essential for their business, and 73 percent said it allows them to find customers in other cities, states and countries. And 71 percent said they believe an individual’s digital and social media skills are important when hiring.
Clay Chandler, spokesman for Gov. Phil Bryant, said: “A modernized system of workforce development that equips Mississippians for jobs of the future will allow our small businesses to continue to flourish. Gov. Bryant is thankful Facebook has dedicated its resources to supporting this innovative effort.”
A sample course curriculum from the first program, held in St. Louis in March, lists classes for small businesses that included:
- Facebook basics for business.
- Connecting with local shoppers.
- Using Instagram for businesses.
- Finding new customers.
- Using smart phones for business.
- Security and privacy best practices.
- Using the social media platform to take a local business global.
Facebook says that since 2011 it has invested more than $1 billion in programs, including Community Boost, to help small businesses.