Melonie Parker graduating from Hampton University, a historically Black research university in Hampton, Virginia.
We have a responsibility to not only increase representation of our workforce, but also work with higher education institutions to provide access and opportunities for underrepresented groups in the tech industry. As Google’s Chief Diversity Officer, it gives me great pride to continue our long-standing partnership with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUS) in order to achieve these goals.
For example, this year, we expanded our Grow with Google Career Readiness Program to 20 schools, and in our recent Tech Exchange cohort, 95% of students rated their overall experience as positive. We’ve also reached more than 4,000 students through our Google in Residence program. I’m proud that we’ve hired hundreds of students from HBCUs as a part of these joint efforts with our HBCU partners.
Now, we’re deepening our partnership with HBCUs with a new “Pathways to Tech” initiative, designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work. To help us drive this work, we are working with HBCUs to form a tech advisory board that strengthens our existing partnership. The HBCU Tech Advisory Board is composed of four parts:
HBCU Tech Advisory Board: The board will be involved in shaping “Pathways to Tech” efforts and will expand to include additional corporations in the future.
HBCU Presidents’ Council: Dr. Michael Lomax of UNCF and Dr. Harry Williams of TMCF will lead an HBCU Presidents’ Council, which will advise the board and ensure that we’re creating and executing meaningful programming that meets the needs of HBCU students.
Joint Steering Committee: To set goals and drive this work forward, I will sit on a steering committee alongside Dr. Kamau Bobb, Global Lead, Diversity Strategy and Research at Google; Maria Medrano, Senior Director, Diversity Strategy at Google; Eric Hart, Chief Programs Officer at Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Chad Womack, Senior Director of STEM Programs and Initiatives; Angela Van Croft, Director, Corporations and Foundations at United Negro College Fund; and Alycia Onowho, Program Manager at Howard University.
Internal Advisory Committee: I will lead an HBCU Advisory Committee that consists of senior vice presidents across Google, including product leaders and executives across Talent Acquisition, Grow with Google, Google.org and Engineering Education, to organize our efforts across the company.
As we deepen our work together, here’s a look at some of the areas we’re focused on.
Helping to build equity for HBCU computing education
We’ll continue to invest in programs that help students develop skills and immerse themselves in tech, and help universities and faculty establish the infrastructure and tools they need to support these students. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that when HBCU students graduate, they’ll have the skills they need to succeed in tech.
This year, our Tech Exchange program will host 114 computer science majors, providing them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in coding classes at Google. This first-of-its-kind program is now in its fourth year, and we’ve continued to update, broaden and improve the program over the years. Through our Google in Residence program, which sends experienced Google Software Engineers to HBCU campuses for a semester to teach introductory computer science classes, we’ve reached more than 4,000 students. Through this initiative, students gain practical knowledge about what it’s like to work in the tech industry.
Our Faculty in Residence program is an immersive professional development program that brings CS faculty from HBCUs and HSIs to Google for a four week summer residency, where they design project-based, industry-informed content and implement that content back in their classrooms.
Since 2017, we’ve invited more than 50 faculty members from 30 HBCUs to join the program.
Helping students find jobs in techWe’ll also remain focused on helping HBCU students find and secure internships and jobs that will help them build successful careers. Last year, we launched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which brings Grow with Google digital skills training into the career centers of HBCUs. The program recently expanded to 20 HBCUs, and aims to help 20,000 students learn digital skills by the end of the current school year. As we have in the past, we’ll continue our HBCU Campus Outreach efforts to prepare students for the tech industry with resume workshops, mock interviews and opportunities for students to develop their soft skills and technical skills through events like coding challenges and hackathons.
Creating a workplace where everyone belongs
For students who choose to pursue a career at Google, we’re also accelerating efforts to ensure every Googler — and in particular Black students and those from other underrepresented groups — experience Google as an inclusive workplace and have the opportunity to accelerate their careers.
We have a responsibility to help provide access and opportunities for underrepresented talent to join the tech industry. Many of the initiatives we’re working on are the first of their kind in our industry. It’s so important that we keep this momentum going.