Google Issues Grant for Black Males to Get into Tech
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 11/4/2017, 10:09 a.m.
Google just took a step to help promote more diversity in STEM. On October 27, the tech giant announced a $1 million grant to the Hidden Genius Project, an organization founded by Brandon Nicholson that is working to increase the representation of young Black males in the industry. The Oakland-based group mentors Black boys and equips them with the skills they need to help shift perceptions of computer scientists and inspire future technologists. Google’s grant will go to helping the Hidden Genius expand to new cities, train more staff and impact more young people to encourage them to pursue careers in tech, reports the Huffington Post. Justin Steele, principal at Google.org in San Francisco, said in a statement that he learned about the non-profit when they become finalists in the 2015 Google Impact Challenge. Since the group won $500,000 from that competition, the Hidden Genius Project has reached more than 1,700 Bay Area students through their bootcamp program, mentorship and career events and workshops. “This work builds on over $35 million in Google.org grants focused on providing opportunities for underrepresented students to become pioneers of technology, and we’re excited to see how The Hidden Genius Project uses this new grant,” Steele wrote. “While we don’t expect all students to pursue a career in tech, we know the skills they learn will serve them well no matter what job ignites their passion.” Google, like many tech companies, has a long to go when it comes to achieving an inclusive workforce. Its latest diversity report, released in June, shows that the number of Black employees remained stagnant over the past year at 2 percent of the overall U.S. workforce and just 1 percent in tech.