Fourteen years ago, I graduated from a small HBCU (Historically Black College and University) called University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a degree in computer science. I walked across the stage with 25 other computer science graduates. Our racial/cultural/ethnic identities was a mix of African American, African, Latino, Caribbean, Indian and Middle Eastern. In addition, we were 50% female.
Fast-forward fourteen years, I now live in San Francisco, immersed in a world of startups. The trending topic here is ‘Diversity In Tech.’ There was a recent media story about Facebook, a tech company with 10,082 employees (source), and their recent EEO (equal employment opportunity) filing. The filing showed that in 2013, Facebook only hired 7 black employees, in comparison to the total 1,231 hirings made that year. This bought their total black employee headcount to 45 for their US based offices. Many other tech companies and startups are in similar situations, with a thumping theme of ‘Where can we find black people to hire?’
Today, there are 100 existing HBCUs in the United States with an average of 2,592 black students attending. Compared to 7134 non HBCUs with an average of 370 black students.* Taking this into consideration, HBCUs can play a key role in addressing tech’s diversity problem.
Introducing HBCU to Startup
The mission of HBCU to Startup is to connect experienced professionals, new grads, and students from HBCUs to opportunities at tech companies and startups. Like other professionals and graduates, HBCU alumni and students want the best opportunities to advance their career. HBCU to Startup presents the HBCU community not only with these opportunities, but with connections and resources to ensure success in their career goals. For partner companies, HBCU to Startup provides an opportunity to network and connect with the HBCU community, therefore expanding their current network for sourcing of talent. The platform is designed to go beyond job opportunities and to offer connections for longer lasting success for both partner companies and the HBCU community.
* 100 existing HBCUs in the United States with an estimated total enrollment of 324,000 students (source). Roughly 80% of students at HBCUs are black (259,200) There are 7234 degree granting institutions in the United States, not including HBCUs, there’s a total of 7134 (source), with an estimated total enrollment of 2,643,549 black students (source). Number shown is reduced by 259,200 to exclude enrollment number of black students at HBCUs.