Google To Open Tech Lab In Oakland For Black & Latino Youth
Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters
Google is launching a new lab in Oakland, California, to increase STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives among black and latino youth.
According to an email obtained by USA Today, the Code Next lab is a collaborative effort between Google and MIT Media Lab. The workroom is expected to open in October, and has already completed a pilot run of the program.
Located in a massive 255,000 square foot complex in Oakland’s Fruitvale Transit Village, the Code Next lab will offer after school programs focused on computer science for middle school aged children.
It also serves as the first time Google has waded into the majority black and latino neighborhood.
“Google’s outreach to leverage Oakland’s inclusive innovative ecosystem has been an open door approach to the community,” Qeyno Labs CEO Kalimah Priforce told USA Today. “And that is a warm welcome that tech giants should emulate. It takes a village, and Google gets it. To survive in Oakland, it has to be about community investment.”
In addition to educating youth, Google’s Code Lab will also teach local residents about entrepreneurship and technology.
The news comes at a time when many tech companies in Silicon Valley are making an effort to grow rates of black and minority employment. Back in October of last year, USA Today had reported that the amount of black engineers at Facebook and Google was only one percent.
Such an issue led to black software engineers creating their own non-profit organizations, in hopes of providing black engineers with the connections, resources and skills necessary to earn a job in the industry.
Since then, other tech companies have continued to increase the diversity in their workforce. Businesses such as Pinterest hired Candice Morgan (who is Black) as their inaugural head of diversity earlier this year, after announcing they would increase minority engineers’ employment by eight percent last summer.