Google is giving a total of $50 million to 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Each academic institution will receive an unrestricted grant of $5 million to put towards scholarships, building tech infrastructure on campuses, and developing curricula and career readiness programs. This is Google’s largest financial commitment to HBCUs to date.
The recipients of the grants are: Claflin University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College, Tuskegee University, and Xavier University.
HBCUs are a key part of producing Black tech workers. Though they are only about 3 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities, they graduate more than a quarter of Black students with STEM degrees.
The 10 HBCUs receiving grants are participants in Google’s Pathways to Tech, an initiative launched in February aimed at helping students build the skills they need to succeed in tech while helping them find jobs in the field and, once they do, ensuring that Black employees at Google have growth opportunities and feel included.
The initiative also established an HBCU tech advisory board that includes leaders of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Partnerships with HBCUs is not a new endeavor for the tech giant. In October 2020, Google launched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program in collaboration with TMCF to bring the company’s training tools to schools’ career centers and they committed more than $1 million to these centers. But Google found itself in a firestorm of controversy late last year after the firing of two prominent Black women, April Curley and Timnit Gebru, which led to HBCU 20X20, an organization that connects students and graduates to jobs and internships, to end their partnership with Google because of allegations of discrimination by the women. The company has since renewed its efforts to better its relationships with HBCUs.
“We have a large team of recruiters who work incredibly hard to increase the hiring of Black+ and other underrepresented talent at Google, including a dedicated team that partners and strengthens our relationships with HBCUs,” a spokesperson for Google said in a statement when asked about reports of Google’s relationship with HBCUs being negatively affected by the firings.
“This work is critical – in 2019 we welcomed graduates from 19 HBCUs and over the past decade, we’ve expanded our recruiting efforts to more than 800 schools,” the statement said.
The newly announced $5 million grants will be given to the schools in July. Over the next three years, the schools will provide an annual report on how they have spent the funds, which will be overseen by the TMCF and UNCF.