Apple and Google have awarded more than $ 50 million to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to help bring diversity to the tech industry.
Apple announced Thursday that it will allocate $ 5 million in “innovation grants” to Alabama A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University and Prairie View A&M University. The grants are part of Apple’s Silicon initiative to help prepare HBCU students for technology careers in disciplines such as hardware technology and silicon chip design.
The grants will also support each HBCU’s engineering program and help expand courses and expertise in emerging technologies, according to USA Today. John MM Anderson, dean of Howard University’s College of Engineering and Architecture, said Apple’s pledge will include more than money.
“Apple will work closely with our computer engineering faculty to strengthen our course offerings and laboratory capabilities in the areas of integrated circuit design, manufacture and testing,” Anderson said in a statement. “Additionally, through design projects and internships, our students will have the opportunity to engage with Apple engineers and benefit greatly from their knowledge, experience and mentorship. “
Google also announced that it will provide grants of $ 5 million to ten HBCUs, including Howard, Morgan State and Prairie View, as part of its initiative to “close the diversity gap in technology.” Grants will go towards scholarships and technical infrastructure for in-person and distance learning, as well as educational and professional support programs.
The other seven HBCU schools that will receive a grant are Claflin University Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University, Spelman College, Tuskegee University and Xavier University.
Google Director of Diversity Melonie Parker said the $ 50 million pledge was the tech giant’s largest yet for HBCUs and part of the company’s pledge to meet diversity gaps in education and technology.
“These initiatives are designed to strengthen equity for HBCU computer training, help job seekers find technology positions and provide opportunities to accelerate their careers,” Parker said in a statement. “(These grants) further strengthen our commitment to providing access and opportunity to underrepresented groups in technology. We will continue to work closely with the HBCUs to achieve this common goal.
Grants from Apple and Google are the latest moves by tech giants to add diversity and inclusion to the tech industry. According to the Kapor Center, black professionals are significantly under-represented in the tech industry. Only 5% of the tech workforce, 3% of tech executives, and 1% of tech founders and black men and women.