by Ray Hayes

Google and Howard University are teaming up to further diversity in tech with the new ‘Howard West’ initiative.  The Howard West campus will be housed in Mountain View, California where roughly 30 junior and seniors from Howard University will spend 12 weeks at Google. The students will receive a one on one introduction into the inner workings of one of the top tech companies in Silicon Valley while also receiving guidance from senior Google engineers, and faculty members from Howard. In addition to mentorship, students will obtain course credit hours for their studies at Howard West.

Bonita Stewart, Google’s VP of Global Partnership, spoke with USA Today to give her thoughts on the new initiative. “For us, it is an opportunity to ensure that we are building a pipeline and more importantly, stimulating the right partnerships to drive change,”  Stewart who is a graduate of Howard University said that she is glad to see the growth Google has achieved over the past decade. This is a big change from Stewart’s initial time at the company when there was little talk about diversity and inclusion.

Google is targeting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) due to the fact that 33% of black students receiving computer science degrees come from these institutions. According to Jessica Guynn from USA Today, the Howard West program is an extension of Google’s Residence program, “which embeds Google engineers on the campuses of Howard University and other historically black colleges and universities to teach courses and get students up to speed on critical skills rarely taught in the classroom, such as how to ace a software engineering job interview,”

I am extremely excited to see how the Howard West programs develops and hope to see more Silicon Valley companies taking this initiatives.