Google is establishing its presence in Oakland, California, according to an email obtained by USA Today.Â The search giant has plans to open a tech lab in a partnership with MIT Media Lab, as early as next month.
The purpose of the lab is to develop a new generation of African American and Hispanic computer engineers. According to reports, the labâ€™s focus will be on developing STEM skills in students of color while they are young. There will be an after-school program for middle schools studentsâ€”this is in conjunction with the local school districtâ€™s plan to increase computer science education.
“Google’s outreach to leverage Oakland’s inclusive innovative ecosystem has been an open door approach to the community, and that is a warm welcome that tech giants should emulate,” said Kalimah Priforce, CEO of Qeyno Labs, which holds coding competitions for Oakland youth, according to USA Today. “It takes a village, and Google gets it. To survive in Oakland, it has to be about community investment.”
According to a blog post by the San Francisco Business Times, Google leased office space near the Fruitvale train stationâ€”a top along the BART transportation system. Fruitvale gained worldwide attentionÂ in 2009, when a young black man was killed by a BART police officerâ€”the incident was later turned into a critically acclaimed film.
In addition to teaching kids, Googleâ€™s lab will also train local residents in technology and entrepreneurship.
Google has been focused on investing in social causes. It recently donated $1M to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and also lent its top engineer of color to create a high-tech interactive exhibit within the museum. In July, the company announced the addition of the first African American to its boardâ€”economist Roger Ferguson.