Tech giant Google is expanding its efforts to increase racial representation within the realm of tech. After launching a pilot program for Howard University students, the company has announced the creation of a new initiative called Tech Exchange, Ed Surge reported.
As part of the program 65 students from HBCUs and Hispanic institutions will head to Silicon Valley to enhance their computer science skills, the news outlet writes. Tech Surge is an expansion of Howard West; a program designed to send Howard University students to Google’s headquarters on the West Coast for hands-on experience in the tech industry. After witnessing the impact that the program made in the lives of the students who participated, Google wanted to offer the opportunity to students at other HBCUs.
Amongst the institutions participating in the tech exchange program are Morgan State University, Florida A&M University, Dillard University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and others.
April Alvarez, Educational Equities Program Manager, Google, believes that the Tech Exchange initiative will be an integral part of increasing diversity within the corporation as well as within the tech industry as a whole. “We’re not as diverse as we’d like to be. We’re focused on building a more diverse Google, one that definitely reflects our users. This Tech Exchange is a piece of that puzzle,” Alvarez told Ed Surge. “These students — we hope they’ll come back and work for a place like Google or start their own Google. They’re going to be leaders in the industry.”
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick says that it’s important for companies to hire individuals who reflect their consumer base. “You want diversity of thought in every discussion, and you need to do that by hiring people with the diversity of background in every experience,” he said.
According to Google’s 2018 diversity report, only 2.5 percent of employees are Black.