Google has partnered with Howard University to launch a new school campus called Howard West right within its own Mountain View campus. Google says undergraduate students from Howard’s computer science program will have the opportunity to attend the campus-within-a-campus for hands-on learning direct from both Howard staff and Google’s own engineers…

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At the center of the move is a push toward greater diversity. Google’s Vice President of Global Partnerships says that Howard West “is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more black software engineers from historically black colleges and universities.”

Rising juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science (CS) program can attend Howard West, for three months at a time. Senior Google engineers and Howard faculty will serve as instructors. The program kicks off this summer and we plan to scale it to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the near future.

Students who attend Howard West will stay for a full three month residency, and Howard says that they will also receive “a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley.” (Which is good, considering the astronomical costs of living in Silicon Valley.) The program will be kicking off this summer, and will be scaled over time to support more students.

“During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google,” Bonita Stewart said. “Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

WASHINGTON (MARCH 23, 2017) – Howard University announced today in partnership with Google the launch of Howard West, a three-month, summer Computer Science residency for rising juniors and seniors in the University’s Computer Science program. The residency includes a dedicated workspace on Google’s Mountain View campus and a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley.

The announcement serves as the realization of Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick’s vision of expanding Howard’s presence to the West Coast. It is also a major step forward for Google’s efforts to recruit and retain diverse technical talent.

“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us,” said Frederick. “We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind – to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.”

Howard and Google’s longstanding partnership with the Google in Residence (GIR) program was the foundation for Howard West. Since GIR embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Howard West was a natural and logical next step. The program connects the geographical, academic and cultural divide between declaring a major in Computer Science and landing a job in tech.

“During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google,” said Bonita Stewart, Google’s Vice President of Global Partnerships. “Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

Google credits Howard for the vision and groundwork to make the program happen, explaining that for many, the University’s name represents the prestige and importance of the entire body of HBCUs. HBCUs proportionally generate the largest number of Black Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) college graduates in the United States and have significantly improved Google’s intern diversity hiring.

Although the amount of new hires the program will generate is undetermined, within five years, 740 students will have matriculated. Howard West will serve the entire tech ecosystem – not just Google. For the University, this is another opportunity to provide innovative, world-class learning experiences to its students, preparing them for work and leadership in the community.  Students will obtain 12 credits toward graduation as instruction through an immersion curriculum as part of the program.

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