The journey to diversify the STEM industry has been long and hasn’t bore much fruit. Just a few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg spoke to students at an HBCU about how the responsibility to do so falls solely on the industry’s leaders themselves.
Google has stepped up with a major investment into the future of engineering by opening a new campus that will cater to Black college students, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Howard West, which was opened in collaboration with Howard University, will launch its pilot program this summer and provide 25 to 30 juniors and seniors with a unique opportunity. The selected students will have the benefit of gaining hands-on experience while learning from Google engineers and Howard faculty members right at the company’s Mountain View headquarters for 12 weeks.
If all goes well, some of the students will even lock away internships with Google in the future.
“Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing historically unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a 21st century twist: Literal real estate at the center of the digital economy,” Bonita Stewart, Google’s vice president of global partnerships, said in a statement.
While the initial program is open exclusively to Howard students, the plan is to open up to students from other HBCUs next summer so that everyone can benefit from a program that’s being called the very first of its kind.
“For us, it is an opportunity to ensure that we are building a pipeline and more importantly, stimulating the right partnerships to drive change,” Stewart continued.
Efforts such as this will hopefully close the gap where only one percent of jobs in the tech industry are claimed by black engineers, despite the growing numbers of black college graduates with STEM degrees.