By: David McCabe
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Tuesday will launch a push to increase African American representation in the tech sector.
The effort reflects concerns about a lack of diversity at companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
“Many of the technology companies have African-Americans as very loyal customers, and many of those don’t have any African Americans on their boards,” said CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). “Their senior leadership within many of these companies is not inclusive, and the workforce is appalling. And their reinvestment in African-American communities is less than desirable.”
The CBC Tech 2020 initiative will launch Tuesday with an event featuring caucus members who will “outline diversity principles, discuss industry best practices, highlight African American students and entrepreneurs, and present legislation focused on increasing STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education,” the group said last week.
It’s part of a larger focus on diversifying the top ranks of corporate America, according to Butterfield.
In the last year, several major tech companies have released statistics detailing their gender and ethnic diversity for the first time. In many cases, black employees are represented in the low single digits in the companies’ ranks — which are overwhelmingly white, Asian and male.
At Google, Facebook and Twitter, black employees comprise just 2 percent of the overall workforce and 1 percent of employees who have technical jobs. Other companies, like Apple and Microsoft, have slightly higher percentages of black employees.
“The numbers tell the story and action is long overdue,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “Inclusion of African Americans in the tech workforce has been treated as an afterthought for far too long.”
In general, tech firms have said they want to diversify their workforces.
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