Tech company grows presence, commitment to Motor City, Michigan; commemorates occasion with $1 million in grants to increase access to STEM education opportunities for underrepresented, low-income high school students
DETROIT — Google today officially opened its new office alongside Little Caesars Arena in The District Detroit, marking its strategic growth beyond Silicon Valley and increasing presence and commitment to critical communities and states like Detroit, Michigan.
The new office, located at 52 E. Henry St and just under 30,000 square feet, features local Motor City artists, history, landmarks and icons throughout. It was showcased during a grand opening and open house with the help of federal, state and local officials, leaders of diverse business and community sectors, and the 100+ Detroit Googlers excited to share their new digs with guests.
“We’re excited about growing in Michigan and being in a city like Detroit renowned for its spirit, grit, culture and innovation,” said Google Detroit Site Lead Danielle Russell. “Those are the same traits that help fuel Google. We’re more than committed to be a good and active neighbor and doing work that can help the city and all who live, work and do business here thrive.”
“Having one of the nation’s leading tech companies choose to make Detroit a home is another sign that our city is a great place to be for technology and innovation,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Google’s commitment to support STEM education in our city will help prepare our students for the growing number of IT career opportunities and build our talent pool.”
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters on hand for the office opening said: “Michigan is home to a sophisticated manufacturing and technology ecosystem that is making groundbreaking advances in mobility that will transform transportation,” said Senator Peters. “Google’s opening in Detroit is recognition of Michigan’s future as a hub for innovation for years to come.”
“Google’s investment can help make a real and meaningful difference in expanding economic opportunity for Detroiters, our communities, and in attracting and retaining talent across the region,” said U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, who also attended and spoke at the opening event.
“We are exceptionally proud to have a world-class organization like Google be one of our first main tenants in The District Detroit,” said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., who helped formally open the office. “Google’s move into the city was exactly the type of economic development we were hoping to spur with The District Detroit, a move which contributes to the city’s resurgence by bringing jobs and innovation to the benefit of all Detroiters.”
As a special part of the opening event, Google.org awarded $750,000 grant to SMASH Detroit (an initiative of the Kapor Center) which works to eliminate barriers and empower underrepresented youth of color with rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, culturally-relevant coursework and access to resources that will allow them to pave a successful career in tech and entrepreneurship. The grant will specifically support their newly launched site in Detroit at Wayne State University as well as area students for three years, including 120 SMASH scholars and at least 300 high school students who will benefit
from broader programming.
“A huge thanks to Google.org for their support and belief in diversity and inclusion and programs like SMASH,” said John Ray, SMASH Wayne State Site Director. “This grant will be instrumental in helping build the future talent our communities and economy need by creating opportunities for many deserving students who may otherwise not have that chance simply because of the zip code they live in.”
Google.org also granted $250,000 to the Michigan Engineering Zone at the University of Michigan’s Detroit Center. The reinvestment grant to the MEZ builds upon the company’s $250,000 award two years ago and will help expand STEM and robotics programming for 350 students year-round.
“Google’s historic and ongoing support of the MEZ like this new $250,000 grant has been essential,” said Jeanne Murabito, Executive Director, Student Affairs. “It has helped us reach more and more students, growing their critical STEM skills and putting them on a great pathway for future careers.”
Over the past 12 years Google’s presence in the state has grown. The company’s economic impact now stretches across Michigan, with offices that have become home to over 600 employees working on teams across Sales, YouTube and Engineering, including teams from Alphabet’s subsidiary company Waymo. Beyond being a job creator, Google helped Michigan businesses and publishers generate $3.85 billion in economic activity last year alone and has given back to Michigan in the form of more than $12 million in free advertising to non-profits through the Google Ad Grants program. In addition, the company has awarded more than $4.6 million over the past few years in grants to Michigan nonprofits and schools in science and technology education, carbon reduction and access to the internet.