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 it will award $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 in 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 emerging technology coursework and expertise according to USA Today. John M. M. Anderson, the dean of Howard University’s College of Engineering and Architecture said Apple’s commitment will include more than money.
“Apple will collaborate closely with our computer engineering faculty to strengthen our course offerings and laboratory capabilities in the areas of integrated circuit design, fabrication, 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 it will give out $5 million grants to ten HBCUs including Howard, Morgan State and Prairie View as part of its initiative to “address the diversity gap in tech.” The grants will go towards scholarships and technical infrastructure for in-person and remote learning and well as curriculum and career 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 Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker said the $50 million commitment is the tech giant’s largest to date for HBCUs and part of the company’s dedication to closing diversity gaps in education and technology.
“These initiatives are designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and provide opportunities to accelerate their careers,” Parker said in a statement. “(These grants) further solidifies our commitment to providing access and opportunities for underrepresented groups in tech. We’ll continue to partner closely with HBCUs to achieve this shared goal.”
The grants by Apple and Google are the latest moves by the tech giants to add diversity and inclusion to the technology industry. According to the Kapor Center, Black professionals are significantly underrepresented in the tech industry. Just 5% of the tech workforce, 3% of tech executives, and 1% of tech founders and Black men and women.