Multinational technology company Google announced Friday that its philanthropic arm, Google.org, will award $1 million to two Latino-serving nonprofit organizations in Silicon Valley that help develop career pathways into tech firms for Hispanic students as part of an effort to increase the diversity of its workforce.
While Hispanics make up 40 percent of the population in California and 27 percent in Silicon Valley, they comprise only 6 percent of the workforce at tech companies and just 3 percent at Google. Also, according to Google, 47 percent of Hispanic students don’t have access to computer science classes at their schools. Through these grants, the company hopes to raise awareness of opportunities in tech and encourage more young people to pursue tech careers.
“We understand that diverse and inclusive environments are essential to building products and solutions that work for everyone,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
Recipients of the grant include the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley (HFSV), which are both focused on creating more clearly defined paths for Hispanics into tech companies.
SVEF, which will receive $750,000, aims to ensure students are on track for college and careers, particularly those in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The grant will help support the organization’s work toward narrowing the achievement gap through student-focused programs, school district policy support, and collaborations with businesses “to bring innovation into the classroom,” according to Google’s website.
Receiving $250,000, HFSV is focused on increasing the graduation rates of Latino high school and college students. Google’s grant will aid the organization in its efforts to reach parents of low-income Latino students via workshops to help ensure they are knowledgeable about the local education system and how best to support their children’s academic and professional success. HFSV President and CEO Ron Gonzales told USA Today that such programs are “low-cost, local solutions” to the diversity crisis faced by the tech industry.
Gonzales hopes the grants will encourage more Hispanics to enter STEM fields, as well as lead to an increase in donations to HFSV to ensure sufficient funding for the foundation’s current STEM scholarships.
“Our scholarship program is designed to create engineers from our local neighborhoods that are down the street from their headquarters,” Gonzales told USA Today.