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Howard University Aims To Build Silicon Valley Pipeline Of Black Software Engineers


Howard University Aims To Build Silicon Valley Pipeline Of Black Software Engineers

Minorities have been suffering for a long time in the US with sensitive issues like racism and sexism plaguing the nation till date. Young individuals consisting of African-Americans, latinos and women are seeking job opportunities in this tough economy which has diversity as one of the least ranked goals.

To tackle this issue one of the most prestigious and well known among the HBCUs( Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Howard University is opening Howard West in California. Starting this summer computer science students from the college will be trained at the Mountain View Google campus in hopes of bridging the racial diversity gap in the tech industry.

According to Google’s 2015 diversity report, only 2 percent of their own workforce is represented by the black community. In spite of an increase in the number of black employees Google did not really reach its diversity goal. Since according to Christian Simamora, a Code2040 member, around 18 percent of Computer Science majors identify themselves as black or latino. Due to recruitment problems, those communities only represent 5 percent of the technology workforce.

Bonita Stewart, the vice president of global partnerships at global hopes to bring that figure to a justifiable count and reach Google’s diversity goal at Howard West. Stewart addresses this as an opportunity to “build a qualified pipeline of talent across the black community”. This pipeline problem is not unique to Google and concerns the entire Silicon Valley that there is a lack of enough individuals from minority communities with sufficient computer programming skills to be hired.

The pipeline building will commence this summer with 25 students of Howard West being brought to Google headquarters for training. Howard and Google plan to train 750 such students in 5 years under the mentorship of Google engineers and regular classroom instructions from Howard professors. With successful collaborations among both the institutions, the program would ultimately be open to students from all HBCUs.

Wayne Frederick, the president of Howard University likes to stress on the added importance of the program since it exposes students to the work culture and environment of such companies. The Howard alums had complained about the cultural preparation that the university failed to provide for its students at the tech industry. Frederick hopes the students would adapt themselves better to the unique Silicon Valley management structure which prioritises collaboration over hierarchy and networking.

Even though an African-American had served the nation as its President, the violence against the black communities and other minorities are increasing rapidly at present. So, it is a great initiative by Google and Howard West to indulge more people from the minor communities into the Google workforce.

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