- A new partnership between Howard University and Google will establish a satellite campus at the tech giant’s headquarters to provide students an opportunity to absorb industry and company culture while receiving their academic instruction.
- Between 20 and 30 juniors and seniors from Howard University will spend three months on Google’s campus this summer, where they will learn from Google engineers and receive course credit.
- Google will extend summer internship opportunities to some of the students, in hopes that the program will help them recruit more software engineers from historically black colleges and universities. In Google’s workforce, African-American representation is lacking, with African-Americans making up only one percent of the company’s technical staff.
Google’s desire to partner with historically black universities like Howard is indicative of increasing acknowledgement from the tech industry that businesses and schools are not reaching minority students early or often enough to offer education and career opportunities in computer science, and STEM fields more broadly. More than a third of African-Americans who receive degrees in computer science graduate from a historically black college or university like Howard, yet they rarely find employment at tech companies in Silicon Valley, which remains a largely homogenous enterprise.
A 2014 report indicated the STEM workforce was no more diverse than it was fourteen years ago, and some reports show the racial gap may have widened. Major partnerships such as this one and one established by Shaw University with local industry leaders are key to efforts to attract more students to campus.
Such industry-academia partnerships are critical to the viability of both enterprises. Not only do they boost institutions’ value propositions, but such programs would also help to alleviate a growing skills gap; there are indications that U.S. colleges will only graduate enough computer science engineers to fill 30 percent of applicable jobs by 2020.