- Google.org, the charitable arm of Google, has announced a $5 million grant over the next three years to boost Latino students' access to computer science education, according to a press release from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF). The grants, awarded to YWCA, UnidosUS and HHF, represent part of a $25 million commitment by Google to help African-American and Latino students develop career skills, the release said.
- UnidosUS said in a statement that its $2 million grant would help it launch its new CASA Code program, aimed at introducing Latino middle school students to coding and computer science. The statement said the program will give students hands-on coding and computer science experience in Spanish and will involve their parents in teaching them about academic opportunities and career paths in the field. UnidosUS will also add Google's free CS First coding curriculum to its offerings, it said.
- In its statement, YWCA said Google's $2 million grant will help fund the organization's STEM E3 initiative, which works with young women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. YWCA will also work with Google's CS First curriculum, it said in the statement.
Reaching minority communities has been a priority for employers and educators seeking to open access to and cultivate interest in STEM fields. Currently, Hispanic people account for 16% of the U.S. workforce, but only 7% of the country's STEM workforce, according to a 2018 data analysis by Pew Research Center.
Employers' inclusion efforts aren't limited to any particular group, however. The push to reach more women, for example, has prompted employers to offer scholarship opportunities and to provide educational opportunities even in early childhood. These efforts can take the form of more formal learning or more casual methods; Deloitte created a comic book series aimed at young girls that features a superhero who uses her STEM savvy to solve problems.
Cities are getting in on the action as well, placing funds made available by governments, foundations and nonprofits into local education systems to boost interest and offer basic skill training in a variety of fields. Other initiatives look to increase the skill sets of teachers at the secondary and primary levels so that they are confident teaching basic digital literacy skills to their students. Still, experts who previously spoke to HR Dive believe STEM careers need a rebrand before employers can advertise them as career pathways that are both interesting and accessible to women and minority candidates.