Google has joined the movement to help HBCU students finally get the leg up they deserve in the tech industry. In a new partnership, Google has created a satellite campus for computer science majors at Howard University.
“Howard West” will be stationed at the Googleplex, giving rising junior and senior computer science majors a chance to experience life in Silicon Valley for three months while furthering their education in technology
“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us,” Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick said a statement. “We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind – to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.”
It is no secret that African Americans are severely underrepresented in the tech industry, for example at Google alone Blacks only account for 1 percent of their technology force and 2 percent of Google’s overall workforce while whites make up more than half.
Google Global Partnerships Vice President Bonita Stewart, who also happens to be an Howard Alumna, hopes that the new partnership will bring diversity to the tech industry.
“The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We’ve also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs,” Stewart said. “Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between the Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.”
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