Google is looking to hire more black software engineers from historically black colleges and universities in a bid for diversity. To achieve so, it has partnered with Howard University, launching a school right within the company's own campus, where undergraduates will have the chance to learn from and work with Google engineers on top of Howard's own faculty roster.
Howard University And Google Unveils Howard West
The new campus, called Howard West, will be open to juniors and seniors in Howard's computer program, where they could study for three months. The university says that prospective students will be given a "generous stipend" that'll have the bases covered — such as housing and other expenses while they're in Silicon Valley. Howard, in addition to private donors, will pay for the stipend. The students will also earn school credit.
"When I joined Google a decade ago, there was hardly any discussion of diversity in tech," begins Bonita Stewart, Google's VP for Global Partnerships, in a blog post. "Howard happens to be my alma mater, so I am especially proud to share that our formal recruiting from the university has evolved into a residency for Black CS majors right here at the Googleplex."
As The Washington Post reports, While at Howard West, students, hailing from Howard's own campus in Washington, can study computer science courses, receive mentorship from fellow black Google tech employees, and even partake in the Googleplex's famous free food and shuttle services.
The new program is Google's bid to trawl more black employees to its shore, which, at present, comprises far too small a number — just 1 percent of its total tech employees. Only 2 percent of its employees overall, as per the company's latest diversity report.
While specific activities are undisclosed, the program will likely include events that'll bring the undergraduates to networking sessions with Howard alumni throughout the Valley and give them opportunities to work alongside or shadow Google tech employees. The program launches with 25 Howard students this summer, but the trajectory sees Google targeting more historically black colleges and universities next year.
Those who desire to go to Howard West will have to apply. Howard is expecting 740 students to go through the program in a span of five years.
Howard says that the program will pave the way for industry-ready black computer science graduates — future leaders and innovators poised to sculpt the global technological landscape into a stronger reflection of the world at large.
Google's Push For Diversity
With Black individuals only comprising 2 percent of Google's overall employees, it's clear that the company is still struggling from reaching a more diversified array of personnel, but it has to hope Howard West is a start, and Google has been vehemently clear about increasing the measly percentage.
Google, along with other companies, are also at a disadvantage when their workforce is mostly homogenous. Studies have shown that in companies with diverse groups, better decision-making is fostered, a crucial element to Google's core principles, for sure, since this way, it is able think of solutions that cater not just to a select group of similar audiences. In addition, there's also the fact that its products are literally targeted for everybody who has access to the internet — black, Asian, Hispanic, white, or not.