Digital Upskill Pilot Program Launches to Help Those Affected by COVID-19

Greater Sacramento


Program will provide Free Laptops, $600 per week Stipend and Digital Training worth $15,000

Sacramento, CACity of Sacramento residents who are looking to improve their digital skills and be professionally trained during COVID-19, now have their opportunity thanks to a new Digital Upskill Sacramento Pilot Program.

On Monday, the Greater Sacramento Urban League, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council and the City of Sacramento will launch a Digital Upskill Sacramento Program in partnership with General Assembly and Merit America. This pilot program will be a reskilling initiative for those affected by COVID-19, specifically focusing on candidates from underrepresented communities seeking an alternative pathway to a job in technology.

Program participants will receive a FREE laptop, $600 per week over nine weeks and a digital certificate in either IT Support or Data Analytics once enrolled in the program. The pilot will consist of 40 students, who will be selected after completing an application and admissions screen in early October.

“The promise of this program is that it connects all the dots: Participants are provided with high quality instruction and a basic income that will allow them to complete their training without economic hardship, and then they are placed in jobs,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “This could be a model for our entire region and beyond as we work to ensure that all of our people are full participants in the economy of the future.”

The Greater Sacramento Economic Council applied for CARES Act relief funding and the City of Sacramento received $787,650 for the program. The Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL) and Greater Sacramento Economic Council (GSEC), are partnering to digitally upskill disadvantaged and displaced workers in some of Sacramento’s most impacted communities. According to the Aspen Institute, more than 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs (82%) require digital skills. Even before COVID-19, the region was struggling to realize pathways out of poverty. Its most disadvantaged residents suffered the most during this and other downturns, and the alleviation of this was only incrementally better in the great recession recovery. In fact, in its 2018 report, Brookings, “Charting a Course to the Sacramento Region’s Future Prosperity,” found that 47% of African American residents and 42% of Latino residents in the region continued to be economically disadvantaged. To ensure all residents can change their economic fortunes, the need for digital skills that are accessible to all sure pathway upward economic mobility.

“There’s no sign of letup in the speed at which the workplace is becoming digitized,” Greater Sacramento Urban League President Cassandra Jennings said. “We thank the City of Sacramento for recognizing this and investing a significant amount of CARES Act relief funding to assist COVID impacted and displaced workers, as well as, uplift our most vulnerable Sacramento city residents. It took the crisis of a pandemic to realize the adverse impact of the digital divide in our city and throughout the region. The Digital Upskill Sacramento partnership with GSEC and GA/Merit America provides the greatest access for our city residents to pursue a tech career pathway toward economic self-reliance states.”

The program will take place from October through December of 2020 with dedicated career coaching and support afterward until placed in a job.

“Implementing this type of digital pilot program for our underserved communities is a personal passion of mine and one of the most important initiatives we can tackle as a community,” Greater Sacramento Economic Council President & CEO Barry Broome said. “Currently, we place people into low income jobs after being trained; we need to change the status quo. Our community needs to learn how to bring skills into the modern economy and see all people as an asset ready to bring value to the Sacramento region. Training our future workforce to make sure they have the digital skillsets is imperative as we build an inclusive economy throughout the Sacramento region.”

Participants can elect to choose from two tracks for this program either in Data Professional or IT Professional; programs are full-time, virtual and project-based and taught by industry leaders in digital upskilling by General Assembly and Merit America.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Greater Sacramento Economic Council and Urban League on this important initiative. General Assembly was founded in the last recession to enable more people to secure jobs in the new digital economy, and we’re excited to bring this success model to Sacramento alongside our partners at Merit America,” General Assembly Senior Director, Social Impact and External Affairs Tom Ogletree aid. “We believe Sacramento will be an important model for the country to learn from as we face the collective task of helping our neighbors and communities reskill for the high-demand jobs of the recovery, which more than ever before will demand digital skills and competencies.”

For people who want to sign up for the program they will need to complete the interest survey at this link:

People who are eligible for the program must live in the city of Sacramento, have a high school diploma or GED and have a desire to pivot into a new career opportunity. The program hopes to have 400 applications by this Friday.


Since 1968, Education, Empowerment and Employment have been the transformational pillars of client and community achievement at the Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL). GSUL is strategically headquartered in the Del Paso Heights community of the City of Sacramento with satellite offices in Oak Park and Marina Vista.  Our mission is to provide the underserved with education, job training and placement opportunities to achieve economic self-reliance. For more information visit us at or on Facebook at Sacramento UL.

About the Greater Sacramento Economic Council

The Greater Sacramento Economic Council is the catalyst for innovative growth strategies in the Capital Region of California. The organization spearheads community-led direction to attract, grow and scale new businesses, develop advanced industries and create jobs and investment throughout a six-county region. Greater Sacramento represents a collaboration between local and state governments, market leaders, influencers and stakeholders, with the sole mission of driving economic growth. The Sacramento Region was founded on discovery, built on leadership and fueled by innovation. Learn more at


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