That there is a lack of diversity in the tech industry is not up for debate. But that’s not to say the winds of change aren’t blowing. Google is doing its part to improve the stats.
The company recently announced a $1 million Google.org grant to The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland, California-based organization that is working to increase the representation of black male youth in tech. The organization mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship and leadership skills and strives to shift perceptions of computer scientists and inspire the next generation of technologist. “These 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.org principal Justin Steele said in a prepared statement.
The Hidden Genius Project is no stranger to the folks at Google. “I first met The Hidden Genius Project when they were finalists and then winners in our 2015 Google Impact Challenge. Since our initial $500,000 grant, they’ve reached more than 1,700 Bay Area students through their 15-month intensive CS and entrepreneurship boot camp program, as well as events and workshops exposing young black men to mentors, basic computer programming and various careers in tech, like sports analytics and video game design,” said Steele in a prepared statement.
Google is putting big resources behind its commitment to diversity. According to the company, it has plowed more than $35 million inGoogle.org grants into providing opportunities for underrepresented students to become tech innovators and leaders. And even if they don’t, the exposure to technology will reap many rewards. Steele noted, “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.”