Howard University campus opening at Google in diversity push
NEW YORK — Google is trying something new to boost diversity.
The tech giant is partnering with Howard University to launch “Howard West,” a three-month summer program open to rising juniors and seniors studying computer science.
The 25 to 30 students selected for this summer’s program will be taught by senior Google engineers and Howard faculty on Google’s Mountain View campus and will receive a stipend for housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley.
Alanna Walton, a junior majoring in computer science at Howard, said students are excited about the program.
“There are no HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) on the West Coast. To bring a whole bunch of black students to the West Coast to learn is a great experience,” she told CNNTech. “Pretty much the whole campus understands how big this is.”
Google plans to expand the program to other historically black colleges and universities in the “near future.” Howard called the move a “major step forward” for Google’s efforts to recruit and keep diverse talent.
“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us,” Howard president Wayne Frederick said in a statement.
Google has continued to struggle with lack of diversity.
Google’s most recent annual diversity report showed that the company has not made any progress increasing the percentage of black, Hispanic and multiracial workers in its ranks. Only 2% of Google’s total workforce was black, while 3% were Hispanic at the end of 2015. The results were the same as the year before, when the company first released its internal numbers.
In 2015, Google announced a $150 million plan to boost diversity internally and in the tech industry in general.