Diversity is an important factor in corporate culture. After all, companies today serve customers from all over the world and as such, it is important that they also have a representation of every community. And anyways, most constitutions guarantee rights to equal opportunity to their citizens. With all this said, many corporations still have a long way to go. To address the same, Google has announced a brand new, concrete measure.
The measure takes the form of Howard Plus, a residency program that is in collaboration with D.C.’s Howard University — a federally chartered, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university. Although it is open to all genders and races. Google already has a formal recruitment program with the university but it is now moving beyond and setting up a residency for junior and senior computer science (CS) students from the college.
The three-month program will be called Howard West, and it will be located at nowhere other than the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. The place will include working space, and will also bring tutoring from senior Google engineers, and a generous stipend for everyone selected in the program. Considering that it is Google, you can expect the arrangements to be actually pretty good. The search engine giant is well known for the amenities it offers to its employees and interns.
Speaking on the topic, Bonita Stewart, VP of global partnerships at Google said:
Howard West is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) — and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.
The company has had a longstanding arrangement with Howard. The company helped rework the the introductory computer science courses at Howard University. It also helped establish the Google in Residence (GIR) program at HBCUs, including Hampton University, and Fisk University. Under that program Google employees spend up to five months on campuses, teaching things like coding and debugging.
Through GIR we’ve learned a lot about the hurdles black students face in acquiring full-time work in the tech industry. The lack of exposure, access to mentors, and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We’ve also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs. Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs, and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.
The program will kick off this very summer and Google plans to eventually open up the program to include students from other HBCUs as well.