After executives were slammed last year over low diversity numbers, Google is stepping up to help make Silicon Valley less homogenous and spread the wealth in one of the best paid industries in the nation.
The Mountain View, California tech giant is trying to draw more women and people of color into the industry with an ambitious $150 million plan, Google officials tell CNNMoney.
Half of the money, the report says, will go to outside organizations and communities, while the other half will be used internally to make Google more inclusive.
The much-needed investment comes a year after calls from civil rights leaders for Google and other tech companies to diversify their ranks at a time of high unemployment in communities of color, which is twice as high as the White unemployment rate.
Two percent of Google’s workforce is Black, 3 percent Hispanic, 30 percent Asian, and 61 percent White.
Here are four things the $150 million investment plan will accomplish, Nancy Lee, vice president of Google’s people operations, wrote in a blog post this week:
Embedding engineers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities:
The program will help broaden the base of Google employment candidates. Lee says the company’s university-focused hiring programs have relied heavily on a relatively small number of selective schools, which are not always the most diverse.
In the past two years, Lee says, the company has doubled the number of schools where it recruits in an effort to promote student diversity. This year, nearly 20 percent of the hires we make from a university are from these new campuses.
Partner with Hollywood to improve depictions of girls in computer science:
Since research tells us that to inspire more girls, Lee says, “we need to show them that computer science isn’t just for boys, we started Made with Code—and we’re working with the entertainment industry to change the perceptions around CS and what it means to be a computer scientist.”
Teach computer coding to high school students of color:
Through its CS First program, the company aims to help instruct teachers, coaches, and volunteers on how to teach kids the basics of coding.
Eliminate employee unconscious bias through training:
Lee says the company has raised awareness around unconscious bias. As a result, half of all Google employees have participated in its unconscious bias workshop and administrators are conducting hands-on workshops that provide practical tips for addressing bias.
“We’re also drawing on the idea of 20 percent time to enable employees to use their time at work to focus on diversity projects,” Lee says in the post. “In 2015, more than 500 Googlers will participate in Diversity Core, a formal program in which employees contribute—as part of their job—to the company’s diversity efforts.”
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