Not Just Cops And Bullets…Hiring Discrimination in High-Tech

BTx3 has been in the High-Tech Industry for over 40 years. Seen some bad, and some good in that time…

This one doesn’t really surprise me though.

This one is another “dividend” from Prop 209’s resegregation of California Universities. These companies are hiring most of their staff from West Coast Universities. which means – there are few, if any black or Hispanic graduates in the field.

Tech jobs: Minorities have degrees, but don’t get hired

Top universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them, a USA TODAYanalysis shows.

Technology companies blame the pool of job applicants for the severe shortage of blacks and Hispanics in Silicon Valley.

But these findings show that claim “does not hold water,” said Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy at The New School in New York.

“What do dominant groups say? ‘We tried, we searched but there was nobody qualified.’ If you look at the empirical evidence, that is just not the case,” he said.

As technology becomes a major engine of economic growth in the U.S. economy, tech companies are under growing pressure to diversify their workforces, which are predominantly white, Asian and male. Leaving African Americans and Hispanics out of that growth increases the divide between haves and have-nots. And the technology industry risks losing touch with the diverse nation — and world — that forms its customer base.

On average, just 2% of technology workers at seven Silicon Valley companies that have released staffing numbers are black; 3% are Hispanic.

But last year, 4.5% of all new recipients of bachelor’s degrees in computer science or computer engineering from prestigious research universities were African American, and 6.5% were Hispanic, according to data from the Computing Research Association.

The USA TODAY analysis was based on the association’s annual Taulbee Survey, which includes 179 U.S. and Canadian universities that offer doctorates in computer science and computer engineering.

“They’re reporting 2% and 3%, and we’re looking at graduation numbers (for African Americans and Hispanics) that are maybe twice that,” said Stuart Zweben, professor of computer science and engineering at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

“Why are they not getting more of a share of at least the doctoral-granting institutions?” said Zweben, who co-authored the 2013 Taulbee Survey report.

An even larger gulf emerges between Silicon Valley and graduates of all U.S. colleges and universities. A survey by the National Center for Education Statistics showed that blacks and Hispanics each made up about 9% of all 2012 computer science graduates.

Nationally, blacks make up 12% of the U.S. workforce and Hispanics 16%.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Yahoo declined to comment on the disparity between graduation rates and their hiring rates.

LinkedIn issued a statement that it was working with organizations to “address the need for greater diversity to help LinkedIn and the tech industry as a whole.”

Google said on its diversity blog in May that it has “been working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science.”

In his blog post on diversity, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook cited improving education as “one of the best ways in which Apple can have a meaningful impact on society. We recently pledged $100 million to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative to bring cutting-edge technologies to economically disadvantaged schools.”

All of the companies have insisted they are hiring all of the qualified black and Hispanic tech workers they can find.

In an interview earlier this year, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the key to getting more women and minorities into the technology field had to start with improvements to education…

“We are not going to fix the numbers for under-representation in technology or any industry until we fix our education system,” she said.

Others say tech giants simply don’t see the programmers right in front of them.

Janice Cuny directs the Computer Education program at the National Science Foundation. She says black and Hispanic computer science graduates are invisible to these companies.

“People used to say that there were no women in major orchestras because women didn’t like classical music. Then in the 1970s they changed the way people auditioned so it was blind, the listeners couldn’t see the players auditioning. Now the numbers are much more representative,” she said.

The same thing happens in the tech world, said Cuny. “There are these subtle biases that make you think that some person is not what you’re looking for, even when they are.”

One of the key problems: There are elite computer science departments that graduate larger numbers of African-American and Hispanic students, but they are not the ones where leading companies recruit employees. Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA and MIT are among the most popular for recruiting by tech companies, according to research by Wired magazine.

“That is the major disconnect,” said Juan Gilbert, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“The premise that if you want diversity, you have to sacrifice quality, is false,” he said. His department currently has 25 African-American Ph.D. candidates. Rice University in Houston has a large number of Hispanic students.

“These are very strong programs, top-ranked places that have excellent reputations,” he said. “Intel has been hiring from my lab, and they say our students hit it out of the ballpark.”

Justin Edmund says he was fortunate to attend Carnegie Mellon. Today he’s the seventh employee at Pinterest and one of the top designers at the San Francisco start-up valued at $5 billion.

He’s also one of the few African Americans in his company.

“There’s a lot of things that can be done to fix the problem, but a lot of them are things that Silicon Valley and technology companies don’t do,” Edmund said. “If you go to the same prestigious universities every single time and every single year to recruit people … then you are going to get the same people over and over again.”

White People’s Party Doomed to Fall

I don’t see this happening until the GOP hits the wall. Further, with the dramatic shift right, I don’t see any candidates emerging that Minorities would, or could vote for on the horizon.

GOP - The White People's Party

The GOP’s Racial Challenge

Lost in the GOP’s euphoria over its landslide midterm victory is the fact that the Republican Party has almost become a whites-only party. Its strategy may win seats now, but it will lose over the long run.

Republicans won big in 2010 primarily because they won big among white voters. The 60% of the white vote that Republicans garnered last Tuesday is, by most estimates, the highest proportion of the white vote that the GOP has won in any national election since World War II. Continue reading

Financial Reform Bill Includes Diversity Requirements

Couple of factoids -

  1. Black people in the US start about 30% of the new incorporations each year – they receive less than .03% of the Venture Capital and Investment Money put into new or growing businesses.
  2. Women of all colors  start about 60% of new businesses in the US – they receive only 3% of the Venture Capital and Investment Money.

Not much of a “level playing field” – now is it?

Republicans and conservatives have opposed any move to change this, and make things more fair using disingenuous arguments about “quotas”, and other racially tinged code words.

Now the reason I call “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” black conservatives “Uncle Toms” is this – pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is exceedingly difficult, when those bootstraps have been cut by the fact you don’t have access to the very thing which makes every one of your non-minority businesses that is successful,  successful in the first place…

Access to capital.

So expect a fight by the right against ANY effort to level that field – including false arguments like quotas, Affirmative Action, and reverse discrimination…

And a lot of hayteration directed at Maxine Waters.

My own experience with exclusion of Minority owned firms dates form the early 90’s when I owned a Government Contracting Firm which specialized in very high end telecom and computer engineering. Most of my customers were other Government Contracting Firms. I never filed for any sort of 8a or Small Disadvantaged Business Classification, although we did file as a Minority Owned Small Business with the Feds. My company had 12 people working at a major Federal Contractor, who was having “problems” meeting their minority SDB and Minority Owned Business (8a) goals – and was filing for an exemption, claiming that there were no minority owned firms which could do the technical work. I pointed out to the Program Manager that indeed, 1/4th of his development staff was being supplied by my company – which was a Minority Owned Firm, although not a SDB (for which we could qualify if we wanted) or a MWOB (Minority Owned Disadvantaged Business or 8a for which we also could qualify if we wanted) and as such, they could indeed reach the 10% requirement. Although it would require hiring more people from my firm, or other like firms, of whom I gave him a list of 10 who were fully qualified and capable fo doing the work who were already certified as SDBs and MWOBs. (And no – white folks can own both SDBs and MWOBs, if they can meet the eligibility requirements).

They terminated my contract 48 hours later, and successfully got an exemption from having to hire Minority Firms because “none were technically competent to do the work”. This is the game that has been played for years at the Federal Contracting level, with the Federal Government Agency sometimes being willing participants. Republicans had managed to gut any enforcement or penalty for not meeting contract requirements (Much as they gutted the Criminal Penalties in Title IV of the Civil Rights Act) in this, and only this one area – meaning that there really wasn’t any penalty for ignoring Small Business or Minority  contract requirements.

That “level playing field” on the side of a mountain thing… Again.

Feds demand diversity on Wall Street

A little-noticed section of the Wall Street reform law grants the federal government broad new powers to compel financial firms to hire more women and minorities — an effort at promoting diversity that’s drawing fire from Republicans who say it could lead to de facto hiring quotas.

Deep inside the massive overhaul bill, Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities, forcing every kind of company from a Wall Street giant to a mom-and-pop law office to account for the composition of its work force.

Employment law experts say the language goes further than any previous attempt by the U.S. government to promote diversity in the financial sector — putting muscle behind federal efforts to help minority- and women-owned firms gain access to billions in federal contracts. Continue reading

Arizona… Again! State Bans Ethnic “Chauvanism” in Education!

Fresh from conservatives “disappearing” Thurgood Marshall, Ceasar Chavez, and Hispanics from Texas textbooks…

We have Arizona’s new law to disappear all minorities.

Arizona Legislature Passes Bill to Curb ‘Chauvanism’ in Ethnic Studies Programs

After making national headlines for a new law on illegal immigrants, the Arizona Legislature sent Gov. Jan Brewer a bill Thursday that would ban ethnic studies programs in the state that critics say currently advocate separatism and racial preferences.

After making national headlines for a new law on illegal immigrants, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill Thursday that would ban ethnic studies programs in the state that critics say currently advocate separatism and racial preferences.

New Arizona Welcome Sign

The bill, which passed 32-26 in the state House, had been approved by the Senate a day earlier. It now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer for her signature. Continue reading

Why 2010 May Not Be What Republicans Expect

Don’t cry for me Arizona… Indeed!

Opinion: GOP Can’t Win With Just White Votes

With a record number of black candidates seeking Republican nominations in upcoming congressional races, the GOP may finally make progress in facing the most serious menace to its survival: the lack of support from any significant segment of the nonwhite population.

Not all of the 33 African-American contenders will win their primary contests, let alone the general election, but at least a half-dozen of them face promising prospects and could provide new energy for a party that desperately needs to shatter its lily-white image. Continue reading

Things to Come? Hispanic ex-Chair Resigns Republican Party

Rhode Island GOP assemblyman quits party following embarrassment of Wilson’s ‘you lie’ screed.

Ivan Marte, the ex-chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly, has announced that he’s quitting the Republican Party because he was embarrassed by Rep. Joe Wilson’s “you lie” outburst at President Obama:

“I do not want to continue being a member of a party in which the members of the party express themselves in that way,” said Marte, 59, of Cranston. In a phone interview, he called Wilson’s behavior “shameful” and “uncivilized.”

But Marte said Wilson’s outburst was the last straw in a series of disappointments that led him to break with his party.

In a letter to GOP chairman Giovanni Cicione, Marte wrote, “I do hope that my resignation served as a sign, that the Republican Party in this Nation need to reevaluate their position” on reaching out to minority groups.

Now, if only a few black conservative had ethics…

Or cajones.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 144 other followers