Author Archives: Melonie Parker

How Googlers are building for everyone, with everyone

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been recharged by conversations with people from all walks of life: students participating in National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week; policymakers at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s events; and community leaders and Googlers from around the world. There’s a shared sense of excitement, and urgency, about the future we’re helping to build. And after years of virtual gatherings, many in-person events have had the invigorating feel of family reunions.

A symposium with Black executives and the annual Hispanic Heritage Awards in September were energizing, too. At the award ceremony honoring the leadership and accomplishments of the Latino community, we announced a foundational donation from Google.org to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino, which will center Latino stories as part of the American narrative.

As a result of our ongoing equity efforts, we were recently recognized at the Business Travel Awards in Europe for our Accessibility Travel Desk. Through this program, business travel agents offer specialized pre-trip and on-trip planning services to Googlers with disabilities so they have what they need on the road. For our U.S. employees, we also recently introduced Health+ Communities, which aims to provide personalized care focused on addressing the particular needs of groups historically underserved in medical care, such as the LGBTQ+ community.

There is always more to do to build toward sustainable equity. Here, four Googlers talk about other work in progress.

Making onboarding easier

Catalyzing change for startups

Driving toward Africa’s digital transformation

Connecting communities

Supporting HBCU students on the path to tech careers

Last weekend I was welcomed back to my “home by the sea” — Hampton University, located on Chesapeake Bay — as the co-grand marshal for this year’s homecoming festivities along with fellow alumna Dr. Dietra Trent, White House Director of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) initiatives. As a proud Hampton alumna and Google’s Chief Diversity Officer, it gives me great pride to continue Google’s long-standing partnership with the HBCU community.

I’ve seen firsthand the impact HBCU graduates are having on the next generation of leaders and thinkers across today’s industries, including tech. In a recent United Negro College Fund (UNCF) study, despite only making up 3% of the nation’s colleges and universities, HBCUs produce almost 20% of all African American graduates and 25% of African American graduates with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees.

A woman in sunglasses, wearing a blue blazer and white shirt, stands beside a black sports car with a white sign in the window that reads “Hampton Grand Marshall.”

Melonie Parker, Google’s Chief Diversity Officer at Hampton’s homecoming.

At Google, we remain steadfast in our investment and support for HBCUs, and we’ve partnered closely with them to build pathways to tech. One way we’ve done that is by welcoming students from 15 HBCUs for full-time roles and internships in the last year alone, and we've expanded our recruiting efforts to more than 900 schools in the last decade. We’ve also invested in programming to further opportunities and pathways for HBCU and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) students, including:

  • Tech Exchange, a semester-long immersive program for select HBCU and HSI students, has quadrupled in size and expanded to serve students from 16 HBCUs and Hispanic-Serving Institutions since launching in 2017.
  • Our Pathways to Tech initiative was designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work.
  • The Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, brings digital skills training into the career centers of HBCUs. The program recently expanded to 20 HBCUs, and aims to help 20,000 students learn digital skills by the end of the current school year.
  • Finally, our Google in Residence (GIR) program gives experienced Google software engineers the chance to teach introductory computer science classes, which have reached more than 8,000 HBCU and HSI students since 2013. Two of our GIR students actually became instructors this year, and many have gone on to internships in our Student Training in Engineering Program and full-time software engineering roles at Google.

We also recognize the unique needs of students, faculty and staff within each of these historic institutions. I meet regularly with the HBCU Presidents’ Council, which advises on creating and executing meaningful programming that meets the needs of HBCU students. In 2021, we provided a $50 million grant to 10 HBCUs to support scholarships, invest in technical infrastructure for in-class and remote learning, and develop curricula and career support programs.

To build on this, Monday I was honored to announce a $5 million Google.org grant to Spelman College’s Center for Minority Women in STEM. A team of Google.org Fellows will partner with Spelman to build the first database that will conduct and publicize research on the experiences of women from historically underrepresented groups in STEM. The findings will be used to help empower and elevate women in STEM fields. This week we also announced $300,000 in funding for 18 HBCU and HSI partners to support faculty and students in tech majors. We plan to distribute this funding annually to enable growth and retention in computer science departments.

Finally, supporting our HBCU and HSI partners means showing up and continuing to shine a light on these historic and critical institutions:

  • We were proud to sponsor the National HBCU Week Conference organized by the The White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The event brought together more than 1,500 HBCU students, faculty and community leaders from across the U.S. for the first time since 2019. We hosted panels and workshops on career opportunities, resume building and personal brands.
  • Just last month we were the halftime sponsor at the inaugural HBCU New York Football Classic. More than 35,000 fans gathered in the stands for the September 17 game between Morehouse College and Howard University as part of HBCU Week. Our sponsorship included scholarships to 105 HBCU students and a partnership with HBCU Tools for School, a nonprofit that provides access to tools, resources and networks critical for academic success.
  • Finally, we’re working with the NBA Foundation on an upcoming promotion where a portion of proceeds from Pixel sales on the Google Store will go to HBCUs.

For more than a century, HBCUs have been a driving force in the cultivation of academic excellence and professional achievement within the Black community. We will continue to do our part to support these institutions, and their students, as we work to make tech more inclusive and representative at all levels of the workforce.

4 days with Google at the 2022 ESSENCE Festival

Earlier this month, a group of Googlers traveled to New Orleans for the 2022 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, an annual celebration that brings together Black women and allies for conversation and connection. After a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, ESSENCE returned with over 500,000 attendees and a packed lineup of performances, workshops and panels focused on sisterhood, personal development, civic engagement and community leadership.

It was an honor to represent Google as a festival sponsor this year, and to witness thousands of Black women leaders, creators, founders, educators and entertainers gathering together. The experience proved how important and powerful it is to create a sense of belonging.

Here are some highlights from our four whirlwind days at the 2022 ESSENCE Festival:

Thursday: Building connections over brunch

We kicked off the festival on Thursday with a brunch for Googlers and their plus-ones. Over food and conversation, attendees admired photographer Deun Ivory’s work, which was specially shot with Pixel’s Real Tone technology to reflect the nuances of skin tones.

Attendees gather around tables and in seating areas in a warehouse space with chandeliers overhead.

At the Google-sponsored brunch, Googlers and their guests admired Deun Ivory’s photographs, shot using Real Tone on Google Pixel. Photo by Jonathan Priester.

“Starting the ESSENCE festivities with the brunch event was a highlight for me,” says Stephanie LeBlanc, Global Lead of Community Inclusion Programs for Intersectional Communities at Google. “As a plus-one, you can sometimes feel like a tagalong, so it was important to us to welcome guests as part of an ever-growing and empowering community of Black women leaders. It was an amazing networking opportunity — many of us discovered how closely we’re all connected.”

A woman in a long peach-colored patterned dress with a microphone stands in front of a large yellow sign that reads “SOBW +1 New Orleans.”

Stephanie LeBlanc helped lead Google’s brunch at the ESSENCE Festival. Photo by Jonathan Priester.

Friday: Sharing skills and training opportunities

On Friday, we hosted a conversation with sorority organization partners, moderated by Cassandra Johnson, VP of Customer Care and Vendor Management Office and an executive sponsor for our internal Black Googler Network. The session spotlighted Black Women Lead, a Grow with Google partnership with The Links, Incorporated, Dress for Success Worldwide and four Black sororities: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Since launching in 2021, Black Women Lead has provided digital skills training to 100,000 Black women across the U.S.

Five women sit in square white armchairs on a stage. The stage backdrop reads “#ESSENCEFEST.”

Cassandra Johnson hosted a conversation with leaders from our sorority organization partners: (L to R) Elsie Cook-Holmes (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.), Valerie Hollingsworth Baker (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.), Nichole McCall (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.) and Andria Daniels (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.). Photo by Jonathan Priester.

The Grow with Google team also sponsored a booth in the festival’s convention center, where they set up time for a sorority “takeover.” Hundreds of sorority members from across the country stopped by to learn more about training opportunities and workshops available through Black Women Lead. “It was amazing to hear firsthand from my Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters about the success of this initiative in our communities," says Shani Waugh, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Google.

A woman in a multicolored dress stands in a booth under a Google sign, with her hand resting on a table.

Getting ready for the sorority takeover at Google’s ESSENCE Festival booth.

Saturday: Holding space for conversations

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of hosting a fireside chat on building career paths with Jewel Burks, Head of Google for Startups U.S. and the co-founder of Partpic Inc, which Jewel sold to Amazon at age 27. Among many topics, we talked about the important role champions play throughout a career.

Later that day, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris took the stage in conversation with Emmy Award-winning actress Keke Palmer — two of the many high-profile and inspirational speakers at ESSENCE. Kamala’s take on the importance of community and connection with others really captured the theme of the weekend.

Two women are seated around a small table with two bottles of water; one wears a peach pink dress, the other wears a light green shirt and blazer and white pants. Behind them is a purple wall decorated with flowers that reads “ESSENCE ESuite.”

I sat down with Jewel Burks at the ESuite stage event “Dynamic Pathways: Charting Your Career Through Reciprocity.” Photo by Jonathan Priester.

Sunday: Reflecting on the ESSENCE experience

On the final day of the festival, Googlers wrapped up their volunteer duties, said their goodbyes to new and lasting connections and reflected on the experience. Although we were one of many companies that attended and contributed to ESSENCE, it was inspiring to see how Google’s efforts helped lift up and bring so many people together. I personally reflected on the limitlessness of human potential, and how the work we do at Google can help Black women pursue successful career journeys.

Laurie Bennett, a consultant on Google’s Human Resources team, summed up the experience well: “It was really powerful to see all the different ways people showed up at ESSENCE — from companies and vendors offering support to the Black community, to celebrities and entrepreneurs sharing professional, and even personal, advice. It leaves you feeling proud and wanting to pay that work forward. ”

Two women smile at the camera — one wears a rose-colored top, another wears a green leaf print top and green jewel pendant necklace.

Rachel Spivey (L) and Laurie Bennett (R), joined a group of Googlers at this year’s ESSENCE Festival. Photo by Laurie Bennett.

Source: The Keyword


Focused on progress: Our 2022 Diversity Annual Report

Editor’s note: Today, Melonie Parker sent the below email to Google’s employees around the world.


Building for everyone requires vision, and constant revision. We’re continually iterating, examining data-driven outcomes, and learning from both our successes and failures. Our focused efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion are no different.

As we prepared to report on how our DEI work is progressing, we found ourselves once again in the midst of a particularly painful time. I’m personally grappling with the recent hate crimes targeting Black and AAPI communities because of their identitiesTo me, it seems, our wounds are never fully allowed to heal. They're reopened over and over again by these senseless acts. This signals the seriousness of the work we have to do to advance equity and understanding across differences. At Google, I'm inspired by the work we continue to do: We’ve resolved to do better every day and to contribute to a world that is equitable, safe and just."

Since we shared our first Diversity Annual Report in 2014, we’ve built on what we’ve learned to increasingly make Google a place that better represents and embraces the diversity of our world. Our 2022 Diversity Annual Report, released today, shows the positive progress we’re making. We’re encouraged by what the data is telling us: it shows we’re on the right track.

Some highlights:

  • Last year, we achieved our best hiring year yet for women globally (37.5% of hires) and Black+ and Latinx+ hires in the U.S.
  • The number of Black+ and Latinx+ Googlers in the U.S. is growing faster than the Googler community overall, and as a result, we saw our largest increases in representation of Black+ and Latinx+ Googlers in the U.S. ever (20% and 8% respectively year over year).
  • We also improved leadership representation of Black+, Latinx+ and Native American+ Googlers in the U.S. by 27%. Representation of women in leadership is also up 9% year over year.
  • Overall, Black+ attrition in the U.S. was comparable to Google-wide attrition levels for the first time ever. We are also seeing promising progress in the improved attrition for many of our intersectional communities, including Black+ women.
  • The data from our Diversity Annual Report also shows us areas where we’ll work to do better, and we remain focused on improving hiring and retention for Native American+ Googlers, and retention for Black+ and Latinx+ men outside of tech.
  • We’re also encouraged by what we heard from our employees this year: 87% of Googlers say they feel comfortable being themselves at work (up 3% year over year), and 91% say their work groups value diverse perspectives (up 2%).

Behind all these stats are programs and strategies that are helping us make real progress. In 2021, we focused on building belonging through learning opportunities like the Racial Equity Learning Platform, and by offering career development and mentoring programs like our Noogler onboarding for Black+ employees at all levels. We also tripled our Retention and Progression team so every organization within Google has someone dedicated to supporting employees from underrepresented communities.

As we move to hybrid work, we want Googlers entering physical spaces to feel valued and respected so they can do their best work. The Diversity Annual Report notes how we’re making our workspaces more inclusive and accessible across all Google sites — especially notable today as we celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

A broad industry focus on representation and access is also important to us. That’s why we continue to invest in communities and efforts such as the Latino Founders Fund, awarding non-dilutive funding, paired with deep mentorship from Google experts, to help Latinx founders retain ownership of their companies. And in 2021, Grow with Google launched a series of Asian-owned small and medium business workshops in partnership with the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce.

We’re also thinking long-term about representation, as we build pathways into tech and digital skills for people from underrepresented communities. Also in 2021, we expanded Mind the Gap, an initiative that encourages women and girls to pursue STEM careers. Additionally, we expanded support for Native American and Indigenous job-seekers in the U.S. and Canada.

I see our 2022 Diversity Annual Report as a powerful reflection of how we are reaching critical “near stars” on our journey toward the North Star of building an inclusive workplace at Google.

I hope you will check out this year’s Diversity Annual Report to share in our progress and what we’ve learned.

Thank you,

Melonie

Building together, with and for everyone

Editor’s Note: Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker sent the following note to the company today.

In a conversation I had last year with civil rights scholar john a. powell about belonging, he talked about “building a place together, for all of us.” I keep coming back to this as we reach new stages in the pandemic, and as we continue to support those who are impacted by the war in Ukraine.

I’m humbled by the many efforts happening across the company that show how we’re making progress and building belonging at work, and in our world — together. Read on to learn more.

Supporting and investing in communities around the world

Supporting our global workforce and local communities around the world remains a top priority for us. Today, we announced several initiatives to help with the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and to support the post-war recovery of Central and Eastern Europe. We’ve also hosted community support sessions to help Googlers affected by the war, connecting them to wellbeing and emergency resources. And we’re continuing to support the Ukrainian community through our products and services.

We’re increasing our investments in communities across the globe, through efforts like expanding the Black Founders Fund initiative in Europe, where Google investments and support are helping Black-led startups succeed. These startups raised millions in funding and created more than 100 jobs in 2021. We announced in March that we will double the fund for 2022, providing equity-free cash awards and direct support to more Black entrepreneurs.

In Canada, Google.org is supporting the growth of Indigenous businesses and helping indigenous entrepreneurs reach broader audiences. Our February grant to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance is targeting tech access issues in rural and tribal communities in the U.S. And the Go Digital ASEAN program in Asia now reaches about 200,000 small businesses and underemployed youth in rural and isolated areas, as well as women and people with disabilities.

The AARP Foundation is helping us connect with more than 25,000 adults — primarily women and people of color from low-income communities in the U.S. — as they build digital career skills. And in January, the Google Career Certificates program became available in Spanish, enhancing tech skills for tens of thousands of U.S. job seekers.

Collaborating to expand opportunities

Our work to expand access to tech is guided by the expertise of organizations and institutions on the ground. Today, 59 faculty members are researching areas that aim to positively impact society like accessibility, algorithmic fairness, higher education and participatory machine learning as part of the Award for Inclusion Research Program. And close to 8,000 undergraduate students from underrepresented communities in eight countries are pursuing research careers in computing with funding from our exploreCSR awards.

Building on the momentum of our $50 million grant to 10 HBCUs last year, we recently announced an unrestricted grant to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and United Negro College Fund to help create new HBCU student programming, guided solely by these organizations. We’re also expanding our Grow with Google Career Readiness Program through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to bring digital skills training to 200,000 Latino college students.

Our ongoing equity work

Since first announcing our 2020 racial equity commitments, we’ve hired close to 4,700 Nooglers across our Atlanta, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. offices. And last year, we had the highest ever year-over-year increase in women hires in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, thanks to targeted campus outreach and the establishment of a DEI recruiting team in the region.

Our work must extend beyond hiring and representation to support the day-to-day experience of every Googler. In February, we launched The Collective, a new six-month onboarding program designed for Black+ Nooglers and their managers. The program is now slated to expand to other countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, the U.K., Singapore, and South Africa later this year.

We can only have belonging when everyone feels safe and heard. In February, we completed our rollout of the more than 50 new workplace commitments announced in September 2020. All of these commitments are in service of building a safe, respectful and equitable workplace where there is trust and accountability. For example, we’ve taken steps so that written warnings impact performance evaluations, promotion eligibility and compensation. And we now assign a specialist team to cases involving senior leaders to ensure appropriate scrutiny.​​ Together, these changes set and uphold higher standards for the whole company — as we continue to take a harder line on inappropriate conduct and provide more care and support to people who raise concerns.

Community connections

In February, we hosted 2,000 Googlers for the first-ever Black Men of Google Summit — a half-day program to build connections around shared experiences. And in early March, more than 20,000 women and allies gathered virtually for our International Women’s Day Summit, aimed at recognizing resilience and deepening community for women at Google.

In India, allies of the LGBTQIA+ community are engaging in identity-focused discussions known as “Chai Chats.” Efforts like this, along with policies and initiatives, such as Google’s Transgender and Intersex Medical Advocacy program, helped Google India achieve a gold rating in the country’s first comprehensive benchmarking study of organizational inclusion.

This momentum is so energizing for the work ahead. Thank you to the many teams and community leaders who are helping us learn and make progress in building a world where we can all belong.

Building a more equitable workplace

When we established our racial equity commitments in June 2020, we started with a concerted focus on building equity with and for the Black community as part of our ongoing work to build a Google where everyone belongs. Over the past year, we’ve provided regular updates on our progress.

Through this work, we've found new ways to support all groups who have historically been underrepresented in the tech industry, and to improve our products so they work better for everyone. Here’s a look at our latest efforts.

Building a more representative workforce

We set out to improve leadership representation of Black+, Latinx+ and Native American+ Googlers in the U.S. by 30% by 2025. We’ve already reached our goal, and we’re on track to double the number of Black+ Googlers at all other levels in the U.S. by 2025.

Hiring alone isn’t enough. We’re continually investing in onboarding, progressing and retaining our underrepresented employees. This year, we ran an onboarding pilot to provide a sense of community, and targeted support and mentorship for Black new hires in the U.S., including providing an onboarding roadmap, resources and virtual seminars. New employees at the Director level were also paired with buddies in the Black Leadership Advisory Group (BLAG). We’ve seen positive feedback from this program — in fact, 80% of respondents to questions about their pilot experience said they would recommend it. We'll take what we’ve learned and roll out a six-month onboarding program for Black new hires globally early next year.

We’re building a similar program for Latino Googlers, and many of our Employee Resource Groups have worked with us to establish a Noogler Buddy program. And in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Black employees can opt in to receive one-on-one mentorship and external executive coaching during the second half of this year — regardless of tenure.

We continue to invest in fair and consistent performance reviews, promotion and pay outcomes. And we know leadership engagement is critical in this area, so all VPs are now evaluated on their leadership in support of diversity, equity and inclusion, which factors into their ratings and pay.

Ensuring our products work for everyone

We’re also continuing to build products that work for all users. Last month, we launched the Pixel 6 with an improved camera, plus face detection and editing products, which we call Real Tone — specifically to power images with more brightness, depth and detail across skin tones. And we’re continuing our work to take down videos with misinformation, removing roughly 10 million a quarter.

The call for product inclusion and equity ideas to support the Black community resulted in 80 new projects since 2020, including making a Black-owned business attribute available to merchants in the U.S. We also worked closely with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) to unveil a new Latino-owned attribute in Google Business Profiles to help Latino-owned businesses get discovered in Google Search and Maps. We’re also creating Grow with Google digital resource centers with USHCC that will train an additional 10,000 Latino business owners on how to use digital tools to grow their business.

Creating pathways to tech

Back in June, we granted Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) $50 million in unrestricted funding so these institutions could invest in their communities and the future workforce as they see fit. For example, North Carolina A&T State University is putting $150,000 towards curriculum development in pre-college programs for aspiring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. Morgan State University has dedicated $1 million to computer science operations, which includes new ideation lab spaces and equipment enhancements. Additionally, as part of our $15 million investment in the Latino community, we’re providing a $1 million grant to Hispanic Federation to help Latino-led and Latino-serving nonprofits train more than 6,000 individuals in career-aligned digital skills over the next year.

We’ve also partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Partnership with Native Americans to bring digital skills and workforce training to HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Native Serving Organizations (NSOs) through the Grow with Google Career Readiness program. In total, Google has committed to training more than 250,000 Black, Latino and Indigenous students by 2025. And through Grow with Google: Black Women Lead, we’re providing 100,000 Black women with career development and digital skills training by spring 2022.

We're also expanding the paths to technology outside the U.S. For example, in Brazil, we launched the second class of Next Step, an internship program exclusively for Black students that removes the prerequisite for English.

Providing opportunities for economic advancement

Last year, we announced a goal to spend $100 million with Black-owned suppliers, as part of our broader supplier diversity commitment to spend more than $1 billion with diverse-owned suppliers in the U.S. every year. To date, we’ve paid out nearly $1.1 billion to diverse-owned suppliers, exceeding our $1 billion goal for 2021. We are also on track to meet our $100 million commitment toward Black-owned suppliers for 2021.

We continue to offer resources for Black-owned businesses through programs like the Google Storefront Kits program, which provides small businesses with free Google Nest and Pixel devices, alongside free installation and Grow with Google online training. In the first 60 days of the program, we donated 3,000 Nest and Pixel devices to more than 550 Black-owned businesses across the U.S. We’ve updated the kits based on business owners’ feedback and aim to reach an additional 1,200 Black-owned businesses across more cities in the U.S.

Google's commitment of $185 million has enabled Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to establish the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and OFN's Grant Program, funded by Google.org to assist Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) working with underserved small businesses. To date, over $149 million in loans and grants has been disbursed to OFN member CDFIs, including $50 million to support Black-owned businesses.

We’re focusing on communities outside the United States, too. For example, in addition to the $15 million we invested in Black and Latino founders in the U.S., we’ve invested in 50 Black-owned startups in Africa, 29 Black-owned startups in Brazil and 30 Black-owned startups in Europe.

We’re also partnering with financial institutions like BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to launch money market funds that promote racial equity. We’ve invested more than $1 billion in products that generate revenue for diverse-led financial institutions, like Loop Capital, and support programs like the One Million Black Women Initiative and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Our racial equity work is an important part of our company-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It takes thoughtful engagement with our underrepresented employees, including the Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Latino and Native American communities — as well as people with disabilities, those who identify as LGBTQ+ and those who come from different religious backgrounds. Through this work, we’ll build a Google where everyone belongs and more helpful products for our users and the world.

$50 million for HBCUs to address the diversity gap in tech

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have stood as pillars of excellence for more than 180 years and continue to serve as havens for Black students in pursuit of higher education. Founded to provide Black Americans with a fundamental human right — the access to a full education, they have grown to produce some of the greatest leaders, thinkers and cultural influencers of our time. These institutions are actively shaping the next generation of Black leaders and are helping build a more diverse workforce across all industries, including tech. In fact, 25% of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs. 

Despite the success of HBCUs, Black professionals continue to be underrepresented across the tech industry. We want to do our part to support these institutions as we work to help close the gap, together. Today, I’m proud to announce a $50 million grant to 10 HBCUs that will help support scholarships, invest in technical infrastructure for in-class and remote learning, and develop curriculum and career support programs. 

Here’s a look at what our HBCU partners had to say about the grant and how it will help them:

This financial commitment is our largest to date for HBCUs. Each institution will receive a one-time unrestricted financial grant of $5 million, providing institutions with the flexibility to invest in their communities and the future workforce as they see fit. 


Today’s grant follows a lot of work in the last several years to support HBCUs, including our Pathways to Tech initiative. These initiatives are designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and provide opportunities to accelerate their careers.

Logos for Claflin University (SC), Clark Atlanta University (GA), Florida A&M University (FL), Howard University (DC), Morgan State University (MD), NC A&T State University (NC), Prairie View A&M University (TX), Spelman College (GA), Tuskegee University (AL), Xavier University (LA), UNCF and Thurgood Marshall College Fund

This grant 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.

Our racial equity commitments, one year later

One year ago today, we announced commitments to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black community and beyond, and make our products and programs more helpful to Black users. Since then, we've been working to translate our commitments into lasting meaningful change. Today we’re sharing more updates on our progress.

We’re announcing a $50 million grant to Historically Black Colleges and Universities to broaden access to opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM, and an update on the more than $320 million we’ve committed to organizations working to address racial inequities over the past year. In our own workplace, we’re sharing progress on how we’re hiring in key growth sites like Atlanta and D.C., and our new onboarding pilot for Black Googlers. And in our products, we’re launching a new Marketing Toolkit and making improvements to our Pixel camera to ensure the Black community is represented in our work.

Creating equity in our workplace

2020 was our largest year ever for hiring Black+ Googlers in the U.S. — both overall, and in tech roles. We’re on track to meet our goals to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025 and more than double the number of Black Googlers at all other levels by 2025.

We're also investing in growing Atlanta, Chicago, New York and DC — locations that we’ve heard from our Black+ Googlers contribute to a high quality of life. In 2021 so far, we've grown these sites by more than 650 employees. We’re on track to meet our goals of 1,000 in 2021 and 10,000 by the end of 2025. 

We continue to invest in programming that helps Googlers grow and thrive at Google. This month we launched a new onboarding pilot, which offers tailored content to support Black employees as they begin their Google career. We plan to roll the program out globally by the end of the year. 

Working in close consultation with our Black employees, last year we introduced a student loan repayment program to help Googlers build more financial stability over the long term, since we know that student loan debt disproportionately affects women and communities of color. To date, we’ve paid out $3 million in student loan repayment matches. 

Work related to education 

We’re proud to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to broaden access to higher education and opportunities in tech. Today we’re announcing a new $50 million unrestricted grant to 10 HBCUs that will help them support scholarships, invest in technology for classrooms, and develop curriculum and career readiness. Each institution will receive a one-time unrestricted financial grant of $5 million, providing institutions with the flexibility to invest in their communities and the future workforce as they see fit. 


This commitment builds on our Pathways to Tech initiative, which is designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work.

Building products and tools for change

As a part of our ongoing commitment to product inclusion, we’re working to make technology more accessible and equitable. Over the last year we've launched a number of important features including a Black-owned business attribute on Maps, Assistant responses on Black Lives Matter, and ways marketers can support Black-owned publishers in Display & Video 360. 


Another example is our recent efforts to build a more equitable camera, where we partnered with 17 professional image makers to make changes to our computational photo algorithms to address long-standing issues with how digital cameras represent Black people in photos. This includes auto balance adjustments to bring out natural brown tones and prevent over-brightening and desaturation of darker skin tones. We’re working to bring these changes to Google Pixel later this year.  


And earlier today, we made our inclusive marketing toolkit available to all marketers. This toolkit has helped us make improvements to how the Black community is represented in our work, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned with the industry.

Helping create economic opportunity and furthering social justice

Over the past year, we’ve committed more than $320 million to organizations working to address racial inequities. This includes grants to racial and social justice organizations, and support for job skilling initiatives, small business and startups. Here are some examples of what we’ve done so far:

To continue the work, we recently launched a second $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in the U.S. and announced the 30 founders who would be receiving up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding from Google for Startup’s $2 million Europe focused fund.

We also support Black media and creators. For example, in 2020, we advertised across more than 60 Black-owned media properties as part of our U.S. media spend and will increase our spend on Black-owned media by 4X this year. Here’s a sample of some other initiatives from the last year:

  • The Google News Initiative (GNI) launched the Ad Transformation Lab: a multi-month program to help Black and Latino news publishers in the U.S. and Canada advance their advertising strategies and grow digital revenue, in partnership with Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) as well as the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP).  Learning from the success stories of the Ad Transformation Lab, we’ll continue to collaborate with AAN, NAHP and NNPA to launch new business-oriented Labs in coming months. 
  • In May 2021, we created the Google News Initiative Student Fellowship program to help develop and support diverse, up-and-coming news and media talent that are interested in careers at the intersection of technology, media and journalism. Applications for the Fellowship are open until June 21, 2021. 

  • Last October, we announced the $100 million #YouTubeBlackVoices Fund, which has provided funding, training and support from YouTube to help 132 creators and artists from around the world to help grow their audience and build thriving businesses. We’ll open up applications for the  Class of 2022 on June 21, 2021. 

We know there’s more to be done, so we’ll continue to make sure our workplace and products are equitable and representative. I look forward to sharing more updates as this important work moves forward.

Furthering our work with HBCUs

Melonie Parker in a graduation cap and gown receiving her diploma from Hampton University.

Melonie Parker graduating from Hampton University, a historically Black research university in Hampton, Virginia.

We have a responsibility to not only increase representation of our workforce, but also work with higher education institutions to provide access and opportunities for underrepresented groups in the tech industry. As Google’s Chief Diversity Officer, it gives me great pride to continue our long-standing partnership with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUS) in order to achieve these goals.

For example, this year, we expanded our Grow with Google Career Readiness Program to 20 schools, and in our recent Tech Exchange cohort, 95% of students rated their overall experience as positive. We’ve also reached more than 4,000 students through our Google in Residence program. I’m proud that we’ve hired hundreds of students from HBCUs as a part of these joint efforts with our HBCU partners.

Now, we’re deepening our partnership with HBCUs with a new “Pathways to Tech” initiative, designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work. To help us drive this work, we are working with HBCUs to form a tech advisory board that strengthens our existing partnership. The HBCU Tech Advisory Board is composed of four parts:

  1. HBCU Tech Advisory Board:The board will be involved in shaping “Pathways to Tech” efforts and will expand to include additional corporations in the future. 

  2. HBCU Presidents’ Council: Dr. Michael Lomax of UNCF and Dr. Harry Williams of TMCF will lead an HBCU Presidents’ Council, which will advise the board and ensure that we’re creating and executing meaningful programming that meets the needs of HBCU students.

  3. Joint Steering Committee: To set goals and drive this work forward, I will sit on a steering committee alongside Dr. Kamau Bobb, Global Lead, Diversity Strategy and Research at Google; Maria Medrano, Senior Director, Diversity Strategy at Google; Eric Hart, Chief Programs Officer at Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Chad Womack, Senior Director of STEM Programs and Initiatives; Angela Van Croft, Director, Corporations and Foundations at United Negro College Fund; and Alycia Onowho, Program Manager at Howard University.

  4. Internal Advisory Committee:I will lead an HBCU Advisory Committee that consists of senior vice presidents across Google, including product leaders and executives across Talent Acquisition, Grow with Google, Google.org and Engineering Education, to organize our efforts across the company. 

As we deepen our work together, here’s a look at some of the areas we’re focused on.

Helping to build equity for HBCU computing education 

We’ll continue to invest in programs that help students develop skills and immerse themselves in tech, and help universities and faculty establish the infrastructure and tools they need to support these students. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that when HBCU students graduate, they’ll have the skills they need to succeed in tech. 

This year, our Tech Exchange program will host 114 computer science majors, providing them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in coding classes at Google. This first-of-its-kind program is now in its fourth year, and we’ve continued to update, broaden and improve the program over the years. Through our Google in Residence program, which sends experienced Google Software Engineers to HBCU campuses for a semester to teach introductory computer science classes, we’ve reached more than 4,000 students. Through this initiative, students gain practical knowledge about what it’s like to work in the tech industry. 

Our Faculty in Residence program is an immersive professional development program that brings CS faculty from HBCUs and HSIs to Google for a four week summer residency, where they design project-based, industry-informed content and implement that content back in their classrooms.

Since 2017, we’ve invited more than 50 faculty members from 30 HBCUs to join the program.

Helping students find jobs in tech

We’ll also remain focused on helping HBCU students find and secure internships and jobs that will help them build successful careers. Last year, we launched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which brings Grow with Google digital skills training into the career centers of HBCUs. The program recently expanded to 20 HBCUs, and aims to help 20,000 students learn digital skills by the end of the current school year. As we have in the past, we’ll continue our HBCU Campus Outreach efforts to prepare students for the tech industry with resume workshops, mock interviews and opportunities for students to develop their soft skills and technical skills through events like coding challenges and hackathons.

Creating a workplace where everyone belongs 

For students who choose to pursue a career at Google, we’re also accelerating efforts to ensure every Googler — and in particular Black students and those from other underrepresented groups — experience Google as an inclusive workplace and have the opportunity to accelerate their careers. 

We have a responsibility to help provide access and opportunities for underrepresented talent to join the tech industry. Many of the initiatives we’re working on are the first of their kind in our industry. It’s so important that we keep this momentum going.

Digital skills training for 100,000 Black women

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of other Black women. As Google’s Chief Diversity Officer, I credit much of my success to others creating opportunities for me to succeed in the workplace. That’s why today, as a part of this work, I’m focused on helping our employees build connections and uplift each other, and ensuring that everyone has the resources and support they need to thrive at Google. It’s also why I joined The Links, Incorporated — one of the largest volunteer organizations committed to serving Black communities.

Today, we’re proud to further that mission by announcing Grow with Google: Black Women Lead, an initiative to train 100,000 Black women in digital skills by 2022. The pandemic has resulted in unemployment for millions of Americans, and its impacts are further revealing the economic opportunity gaps that still exist for Black women. During COVID-19, women have accounted for 56% of workforce exits, and Black women have been particularly impacted, losing 154,000 jobs in December 2020 alone. 

Because 80% of middle-skills jobs  in the U.S. require proficiency in digital tools, our new initiative will focus on this essential training. We’re thrilled to do this important work in partnership with six organizations led by Black women — The Links, Inc., Dress for Success and four sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Google will train these partners to deliver Grow with Google digital skills training and career development workshops to Black women in their communities. Dress for Success will offer additional career services including interview preparation, mentorship and networking to women participating in the program. This initiative is part of a $15 million commitment the company announced in June to help Black jobseekers grow their digital skills.

I am grateful to the leaders of these organizations, who are uniting for the first time with the shared goal of upskilling 100,000 Black women with digital skills. Their legacy, expertise and credibility will help ensure we accomplish this mission. Here’s more information about each of the initiative’s partners:

I’m looking forward to seeing the impact of this initiative as we train 100,000 participants by spring 2022 and set them up for success with digital skills that are so important today, and for the future.