Google CEO discusses Black expertise pipeline considerations with HBCU leaders

On December 21, ex-Google range recruiter April Curley tweeted that she had been fired by the corporate in September after repeatedly elevating considerations about how the tech chain evaluates black school graduates.

In latest interviews with CNN Enterprise, Curley maintains that her former Google superiors believed HBCU pc science grads haven’t got the technical abilities wanted for profitable Google tech careers and that they often resisted her makes an attempt to get extra Black school tech majors employed, though she says that is what the corporate employed her for.

Google has declined to touch upon Curley’s particular office allegations, which got here lower than a month after the corporate parted methods with outstanding synthetic intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru. Each Curley and Gebru are Black girls. Every of their Twitter threads recounting their Google experiences went viral in December, sparking outrage within the tech world and calling into query the renewed commitment Google made to recruit extra Black staff within the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd final yr.
The nationwide range and inclusion group HBCU 20×20 abruptly canceled its partnership with Google in response to the controversy, which caught the eye of HBCU directors whose faculties have tech change partnerships with Google.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a conference in Brussels on January 20, 2020.

Friday’s assembly was organized by Thurgood Marshall Faculty Fund president and CEO Harry Williams, whose non-profit helps publicly funded HBCUs and different predominantly Black establishments. Williams mentioned the presidents of Howard College, Florida A&M College, North Carolina A&T College, Prairie View A&M College and Morgan State College all participated in a 60-minute digital session Friday evening with Pichai and 7 members of Google’s senior management workforce about working collectively going ahead.

“We’re all inspired in regards to the future partnership,” Google and the HBCU leaders mentioned in a joint assertion emailed to CNN late Friday evening. “The assembly paved the best way for a extra substantive partnership in plenty of areas, from elevated hiring to capability constructing efforts that can enhance the pipeline of tech expertise from HBCUs.”

Williams mentioned that Gebru and Curley’s allegations about Google weren’t mentioned throughout the assembly.

“That is a personnel matter,” he mentioned. “The presidents made it very clear because it pertains to the scholars, in the event that they ship college students (to Google) they’d to be ok with the state of affairs.”

Earlier than the assembly, Morgan State College president David Wilson organized a spotlight group with MSU Google tech change college students and alumni who at present work at Google to get their suggestions on how the corporate treats Black HBCU college students and graduates.

Wilson mentioned he advised Google at Friday’s assembly that what he heard from Morgan State college students was principally optimistic.

“One among our black feminine (college students) did inform me she was the primary Black girl to be on her rapid workforce there at Google and one among solely two Blacks on the bigger workforce,” Wilson advised CNN Enterprise.”However she was by no means made to really feel like she did not belong … They’re having good experiences.”

Accusations of disparagement

A fall 2020 picture of Howard University's campus. The school' is one of several historically Black colleges and universities that participates in a tech exchange program with Google.
On Thursday evening, Curley tweeted that Google had changed her on its HBCU recruitment workforce with a White girl, resulting in extra online criticism. Google declined to immediately tackle Curley’s allegation.

“We’ve got a big workforce of recruiters who work extremely arduous to extend the hiring of Black+ and different underrepresented expertise at Google, together with a devoted workforce that companions and strengthens {our relationships} with HBCUs,” the corporate mentioned.

Curley additionally accused Google staffers of writing a disparaging report about HBCU grads in 2014, the yr she joined the corporate, in keeping with her LinkedIn account. Curley mentioned she has a replica of the report, which she mentioned was titled, “Project Bison Proposal,” an obvious reference to Howard College’s mascot.

“Google mentioned, ‘our interview suggestions case research and curricula evaluation exhibit that present HBCU (pc science) Departments should not graduating robust technical expertise,'” Curley wrote, quoting from the report, in a collection of Thursday evening tweets.”‘HBCU CS college students wrestle with probably the most fundamental of coding, algorithms and information buildings.'”

Google mentioned its Google in Residence program, which sends firm software program engineers to show pc science lessons at HBCU campuses, began in 2013.

“We have been very upfront in regards to the objectives of that program and the way it’s a partnership with HBCUs,” a Google spokesperson mentioned through e-mail. “We have no feedback on any previous proposals.”

Google says it has collaborated with HBCUs in a number of methods to arrange Black school college students for aggressive software program engineer internships and full-time roles on the firm, These embrace the corporate’s tech exchange programs, its Howard College pc science residency, often known as Howard West, and its Computer Science Summer Institute program for highschool college students in the US and Canada.
Final summer season, Google dedicated to rising Black illustration at its senior ranges and bettering management illustration of “underrepresented teams” by 30% by the yr 2025. Solely 3.7% of Google’s US workforce is Black, in keeping with the corporate’s newest diversity report. In 2019, Google says it employed graduates from 19 HBCUs.

“We have expanded our recruiting efforts to greater than 800 faculties,” the corporate mentioned.

Interviewed late Friday evening, Curley mentioned the Black school recruitment successes Google is touting are merchandise of the work she and others on her workforce put in over the course of six years. She wasn’t shocked Morgan State’s college students had optimistic issues to say about their Google experiences.

“These children had been my children that I introduced into the corporate,” Curley mentioned. “(Google is) capable of take credit score for it as a result of I laid the bottom work, myself and two different Black girls.”

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