Google created Howard West last year as a three-month residency program for rising junior and senior computer science majors at Howard University. Students attended the program on Google’s Bay Area campus and were taught by senior Google engineers as well as Howard faculty.
TechCrunc reports that after the success of the first program, the company is now looking to expand the program to one full year and make it available to students from other HBCUs, too.
Google engineer Howard Sueing wrote in a blog post:
The pilot exceeded our expectations in many ways. Students and faculty noted both the rigor and immersion in life at Google as the program’s most compelling aspects, and the Googlers involved felt there was a true exchange of knowledge, culture and understanding.
This fall, there will be 100 students participating in the immersive computer science program, which is touted as the centerpiece of Google’s efforts to recruit more black software engineers—but will Google hire them?
There were 26 students from Howard University in the pilot program, and at the end, 14 of them applied for internships with Google. Only four of them received and accepted offers.
Google’s diversity numbers still look very white “tech bro.” The company is currently 31 percent female, and only 2 percent of the employees are black. As of 2016, Google had over 72,000 employees. By that number, that means only 1,440 are black.
So, what good is a program like this if the people trained in it cannot seem to get hired by the company?
Is Google just talking about it, or does the company plan to be about it?
Only time will tell.