Google is taking actionable steps to increase the number of minority coders in Silicon Valley by launching “Howard West.” About 30 computer science majors from Washington D.C.’s Howard University will spend 12 week this summer at Google’s Mountain View, Calif campus. There they’ll receive instruction from Google’s senior engineers as well as earn college credit.
The initiative was brokered by HU alum Bonita Stewart, who is also Google’s vice president of global partnership. Stewart alongside Howard’s President Dr. Wayne Frederick have been working to organize the program. Stewart said when she first got to Google a decade ago, she noticed the lack of diversity among coders, which hovered at just around one percent. Google however is changing its ways and is targeting students from HBCUs because of those graduates who earn degrees in computer science, less than a third find jobs in Silicon Valley.
“I would like to see more Howard students and ultimately historically black colleges and universities students and underrepresented minorities being hired in the tech industry and participating in more start-ups,” Frederick said. “Exposure to that environment early will pay dividends on the back end.”
Along with the students, Howard University professors will also participate in the program. For six weeks, they will also learn the latest advancements in technology.