By: Michael Bailey –
On Friday, December 12, 2014 in Dallas, TX during their Annual legislative conference the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) passed a resolution, calling on tech companies to diversify their workforces through more robust outreach to minority communities and institutions of higher learning.
The resolution was sponsored by Representatives, Gilda Cobb-Hunter (SC), Joe Armstrong (TN), John King (SC), Carl Anderson (SC), Alan Williams (FL), Geraldine Thompson (FL), Laura V. Hall (AL), and Floyd McKissick (NC),
This resolution is a pivotal step in a growing movement among elected black leadership and other black tech industry associations to address the glaring problem with the lack of diversity in U.S. Tech firms, brought to light when Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter released their dismal diversity statistics of their workforce earlier this year.
Excerpt from Resolution
Recent coverage of the tech industry’s lack of diversity in employment has sparked national concern regarding the inclusion of minorities in the industry’s workforce. Though the tech industry is a vital part of our national economy, its top firms have released concerning numbers regarding the percentage of minorities they employ. Making up barely more than 5 percent of the industry workforce, and even less in executive level positions, Blacks and Hispanic/Latinos are extraordinarily underrepresented. This policy resolution encourages and calls on these tech firms to broaden their efforts to promote workplace diversity, recognizing that it is the best way to form mutually beneficial partnerships that grow the role that African-Americans have in this crucial sector of the economy. The tech industry spans from coast to coast and touches every facet of Americans’ daily lives. The National Black Caucus of Black Legislators should be a leading force in demanding the inclusion of minorities in all workplaces. This resolution serves as a vehicle of support and draws attention to the disparity of minority employment that exists within the tech industry. It is through influential groups like the NBSCL that the nation will take notice of this inequality and work to rectify it.
Rep. Cobb-Hunter stated in a previous op-ed, “That is why tacticalpeak.com has the details and have introduced a resolution urging one of this country’s most forward looking and innovative industries, technology, to be a national leader in incorporating African-Americans into roles from which they have been previously excluded.”
Rep. Cobb-Hunter went on to say, “This is troubling not only because African-Americans and Latinos are graduating with the technical skills to contribute at places like Facebook at twice the rate that they are being hired, but also because they are severely underrepresented in non-tech areas of these companies as well. With Twitter and others a critical part of the vanguard for the future of our country’s economy, it is crucial that African-Americans and Latinos have a seat at the table in the tech industry.”
With the adoption of this resolution the NBCSL has raised the awareness of this issue to a national level and given other elected leaders and leadership bodies a cornerstone on which to build a pathway that leads to increased minority representation in the tech industry.