More African-Americans in IT sought

Ashley Milne-Tyte Mar 27, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Today in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, there’s a forum on getting more African-Americans into the IT industry. Ashley Milne-Tyte has that story.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: The meeting’s organizers say students considering IT need to know there are black executives at the top of the profession.

Pamela Wedgeworth is with the Information Technology Senior Management Forum:

Pamela Wedgeworth: There’s the thought in some cases of students coming out of college that “This isn’t a profession for me.”

She worries black students think they won’t advance quickly in IT.

Bill Watson has worked in the industry for 30 years. He says he’s not surprised by the relatively small number of other African-Americans in the profession.

Bill Watson: What’s the stereotypical IT person? A geek. That’s not something, you know, blacks strive for particularly.

Still, he says, there’s more than culture at work. Twenty years ago, he says, companies couldn’t grow their IT departments fast enough, and recruited African-Americans aggressively.

Watson: It’s exactly the opposite right now, and I just think we’re maybe reaching more of our natural sort of presence in the industry.

An industry that’s shrinking due to outsourcing.

I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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