Google announced the opening of “Howard West” on its Mountain View, CA campus Thursday. The Silicon Valley outpost of the historically Black university will train computer science majors by immersing them in coding instruction and technology.
Howard West will launch this summer with between 25-30 juniors and seniors from Howard University, who will spend 12 weeks at Google being taught by senior Google engineers and Howard faculty. Students will not pay extra to attend Howard West and will be given a stipend and support for housing from Howard to combat the rental prices in Silicon Valley.
Diversity in Silicon Valley has long been an issue despite efforts by tech companies to diversify. This program is part of Google’s effort to recruit more software engineers from HBCU’s in technical roles, where they currently only account for one percent of the workforce. Google’s new focus on HBCU’s is largely because more than a third of African-Americans who receive computer science degrees are rarely employed at Silicon Valley tech companies.
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The President of Howard University, Dr. Wayne Frederick released a brief statement on the venture:
“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. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind – to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.”