Google is once again making good on their promise to bring more diversity to the tech field.
Last month, the technology giant announced a $1 million grant to The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland-based group that mentors Black boys and aims to shift perceptions of computer scientists. In a statement Google.org Principal Justin Steele, Steele said the “funds will help the organization grow into new cities, train more staff, and expand their work to inspire more young people to pursue careers at the intersection of tech and their passions.
Google was reportedly first introduced to the organization when they competed and won the 2015 Google Impact Challenge. Since then, the non-profit has gone on to reach close to 2,000 Bay Area students through a combination of events, workshops, and a 15-month intensive program. In addition to equipping young men with the tools and skills needed to enter the technology field, The Hidden Genius Project matches participants with Black male mentors to help foster their learning.
As Steele points out in his statement, students are five times more likely to take an interest in computer science if they often see people who look like them in that field. This is backed by a 2016 Gallup study that explores the underrepresentation of girls, Blacks, and Hispanics.
Google’s newest grant is another step toward increasing the percentage of African Americans in Silicon Valley. Over the summer, the company opened its doors to Howard University students for a 12-week summer program aimed at recruiting more Black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.