HBCUs can provide a solution to Silicon Valley’s diversity problems
As someone committed to bringing diversity to the white-dominated tech industry, I have been heartened by the support that is beginning to build for this goal in a critically important community: Historically Black Colleges and Universities. No less a figure than Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, a prominent member of the HBCU family and a former president of National Association for Equal Opportunity, recently offered his thoughts on the issue in an insightful opinion article published in Tom Joyner’s Black America Web under the headline “The Problems With Silicon Valley’s Lack Of Diversity.”
In the article, Dr. Humphries not only focuses on the diversity problems at Google and other tech companies. He uses the article to rebut claims by the tech industry that there just aren’t enough trained Hispanics and blacks to hire for high-tech jobs, citing a USA Today analysis that found that African Americans and Hispanics graduate with computer degrees at twice the rate that they are employed by major Silicon Valley companies. As a member of the community of HBCUs, Dr. Humphries also pledged to rally colleagues at these institutions to call upon Silicon Valley firms to come to these campuses and see for themselves that there are minority graduates capable of exceling in tech jobs.
Here is a key passage:
I am personally frustrated at the fact that qualified young minorities are missing out on the life-changing employment opportunities available at tech companies like Google. That is why I intend to take action by working with my colleagues across America’s robust system of historically black colleges and universities to make sure that Google, Facebook and other tech companies know that minority graduates are ready to work and capable of exceling in tech. I hope leaders on HBCU campuses around the country follow his lead. In the meantime, I will continue my effort to bring about change in Silicon Valley through the work of my organization, DiverseTech. Indeed, DiverseTech will be hosting a panel discussion on this very issue on Thursday, December 4, between 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Room H-122 in the Capitol Building here in Washington. If you would like to attend, please RSVP at email@example.com.
Please join us on Thursday as we explore solutions to a problem that threatens to leave communities of color on the wrong side of the so-called Digital Divide.
Sincerely, Jeremy White
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