Congressional Black Caucus heads to Silicon Valley next week for diversity push

Silicon Valley’s diversity woes have reached the ears of U.S. lawmakers.

Congressional Black Caucus members who want tech firms to hire more African-Americans by 2020 are headed to Silicon Valley next week to come up with a diversity plan.

“This will potentially lead to a wide range of opportunities, from student internships to positions on the boards of tech companies,” said U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-North Carolina, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, in a statement.

The group, which includes U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will visit Apple, Bloomberg, Google, Intel, Pandora, SAP and the Kapor Center for Social Impact from August 2 to 4, according to a press release.

In May, lawmakers started an initiative called CBC TECH 2020, which includes coming up with a five-year plan to get more African-Americans in the tech industry.

It’s a problem that Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech firms have been trying to solve, but with little success. About 2 percent of Facebook and Google employees in the United States this year are black, a number that hasn’t budged compared to last year.

On Thursday, Pinterest released diversity data that also showed that the percentage of black employees stayed the same at about 1 percent. But the firm publicly set its diversity goals for 2016, an unprecedented move that civil rights activists praised.

With a limited amount of time to meet with tech executives, lawmakers only had room to fit a few companies into the visit.

“Unfortunately, their schedule does not permit them to meet with Twitter reps, although Twitter extended an invitation to the CBC.  The CBC hopes to meet with Twitter on tech diversity at a later date,” said  Kezmiché “Kim” Atterbury, a spokeswoman for  Butterfield’s office in an email.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg met with caucus members last week in Washington D.C.

“Increasing diversity and inclusion within the tech sector is not only a moral imperative, it’s good for business and vital to continue economic growth,” Lee, who co-chairs the group’s diversity task force, said in a statement.

Photo Credit: U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. Leigh Vogel/Getty Images.

 

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  • ellafino

    No one seems to want to confront the main reason why there are not more minorities including women in tech. That is the lack of those groups seeking tech degrees or training. Until that obstacle is solved the tech companies will always have an excuse for lack of diversity.

 
 
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