Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL Google has partnered with Howard University to offer black software engineers a chance to learn from a new program called “Howard West”.
The first 12-week batch consisting of 25 to 30 juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science program will commence this summer with numbers expected to increase in future semesters. Candidates have to apply and get accepted to the program, following which they will receive stipend and school credits.
Howard targets 740 students within the next five years. The broader plan is to extend the program to other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) going forward.
Extension of Google’s Residence Program
With the Howard West program, Google is extending its Google in Residence (GIR) program. Under GIR, Google engineers teach on-job skills to students of Howard University and other HBCUs at their own campuses.
The Howard West program will do the same at Google’s Mountain View, CA campus and its teachers include Google engineers and Howard University faculty.
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Bonita Stewart, a Howard Graduate and Google’s vice president of global partnerships has planned this project along with Howard University president Dr. Wayne Frederick.
"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," Stewart commented while announcing the program.
Diversification and Recruitment to Go Together
The program aims at giving more exposure and opportunities to students from the black community in the technology industry. That makes sense as tech giants like Google, Microsoft MSFT, Facebook FB and Twitter TWTR have struggled to hire and retain a racially diverse workforce.
Google at present is far away from representing a diversified workforce. Black employees represent only 2% of Google’s total employees and 1% of Google’s tech employees. Apart from getting candidates who have been mentored by its own engineers, the program will also help it to attain workplace diversity.
Over the last one year, Google’s shares have outperformed the Zacks Internet-Services industry, gaining 11.6% compared with the industry’s gain of 8.9%. Proper recruitment and workplace diversification strategies are expected to back this momentum going forward.
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