Google Launches ‘Tech Exchange’ to Increase Diversity in Industry
Photo Credit: AfroTech

Google Launches ‘Tech Exchange’ to Increase Diversity in Industry

Google is on a mission to create a more diverse company that reflects its user base. The tech giant announced Tuesday their plans to continue investing in fresh, diverse tech talent through their new Tech Exchange program.

Starting this fall, the program will send  65 rising juniors from 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to the Googleplex for an immersive computer science experience.

“We’re not as diverse as we’d like to be,” said April Alvarez, Google’s educational equities program manager to EdSurge. “We’re focused on building a more diverse Google, one that definitely reflects our users. … This Tech Exchange is a piece of that puzzle.”

The schools involved include Howard, Florida A&M, California State Dominguez Hills, Morgan State, New Mexico State, Prairie View A&M, North Carolina A&T State, Dillard, University of Texas-El Paso, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, and Spelman College.

“I applaud the leadership at Google in recognizing the value that Morgan and other HBCUs and HSIs are bringing to the innovation and technology space,” said Morgan State University President David Wilson in a statement.

Tech Exchange is an extension of Howard West, a 2017 pilot program between Google and Howard University that placed students in Google’s headquarters to learn and build on computer science skills and concepts they learned in class.

Google reports that half of the 26 students who participated in Howard West have found engineering internships at Google or in the tech industry. Howard West students spent last summer at Google earning course credits in applied computer science subjects including machine learning to software engineering.

Tech Exchange engages students for an entire academic year with a rigorous curriculum that is more hands-on than traditional computer science courses, Alvarez said.

Students will take applied computer science courses, including machine learning, product management, computational theory, and database systems taught by HBCU and HSI faculty as well as Google engineers.

“These students — we hope they’ll come back and work for a place like Google or start their own Google,” Alvarez told EdSurge. “They’re going to be leaders in the industry.”