Mayor Celeberates Facebook’s Selection of Houston for Premier of Community Boost Project

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Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced today that Facebook has picked Houston and four smaller cities to host the first phase of its Community Boost project, which is designed to help small businesses and non-profit organizations grow and to equip residents with online skills they will need in the changing world of online communications.

“We’re happy to welcome Facebook to Houston to boost our residents’ digital skills and make sure our vibrant community of entrepreneurs and small businesses gets more out of the internet," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "I’m glad that Facebook recognized that one of the first five cities to benefit from this program should be Houston, the most diverse city in the nation, the largest economic engine of Texas and a proving ground not only for innovation in tech, energy, medicine and space exploration but also for mom-and-pop small businesses that reflect all the cultures of America and the globe."

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg praised Houston's ability to deal with challenges.

”With the support of Mayor Turner , we will be able to help small Houston businesses grow and hire, and make sure that Texans have access to training for well-paying, high tech jobs. Houston is a strong and resilient city, and Community Boost will help ensure that its small businesses thrive," Sandberg said.

Community Boost will land next year in Houston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines and Greenville SC. It will eventually spread to 25 other U.S. cities. Program locations and participation details for Houston will be unveiled later.

"We want to do more to support communities across America – particularly for those who are transitioning to careers that require more digital skills," a Facebook statement said.

"If you’re looking for a jobwe’ll provide training to help improve your digital and social media skills. According to the research, 62% percent of US small businesses using Facebook said having digital or social media skills is an important factor in their hiring decisions — even more important than where a candidate went to school.

"If you’re an entrepreneur, we’ll have training programs on how to use technology to turn an idea into a business or show you ways to create a free online presence using Facebook.

"If you’re a business owner we’re going to offer ways your business can expand its digital footprint and find new customers around the corner and around the globe.

"If you’re getting online for the first time or you want to support your communitywe’ll provide training on digital literacy and online safety. And we’ll also help community members use technology to bring people together, with Facebook features like Events and Groups."