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Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are spending the week in Silicon Valley discussing with major tech companies why there aren’t more African-Americans in the industry. Numbers from Apple, Google and Microsoft show an overwhelming majority of white male workers. Last year Google revealed that only 2 percent of its employees are black. But Google’s not alone; Apple posted 7 percent.
Chelsea Barabas just got a degree from MIT focusing on diversity in the tech industry.
“The socially good thing to do actually makes good business sense,” she says.
Barabas says that perhaps more than politics, changing demographics could lead to what the Caucus is after. “If you want to be able to design products for the largest and fastest growing consumer market in the United States, you need people who have an insight into those communities and those consumer needs.”
This week’s meetings are part of a five-year plan launched by the Caucus in May called TECH 2020. Alison Parks, a diversity consultant in the Bay Area, says the irony is that many of these companies make their money on innovation, but they’ve been using the same hiring practices for years. “What could possibly happen if we actually re-examine some of our old models of hiring the way we do?”
The Caucus says these initiatives shouldn’t be limited to hiring more black engineers and coders, but should also apply to the board room.
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