HBCU Students and Faculty Visit Silicon Valley Tech Companies for UNCF’s I.C.E. Summit

UNCF conference on Nov. 16-19 empowers future African American innovators and aims to address the diversity gap in Silicon Valley.

Fifty-three students and 19 faculty members representing more than 30 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will visit nearly a dozen Silicon Valley/Bay Area corporations this week as UNCF hosts the fourth annual HBCU I.C.E. (Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship) Summit. The goal of the four-day summit is to empower African American students—most of whom are computer science, engineering and information technology majors—to chart their career paths within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. In addition, the summit will convene 19 HBCU computer science faculty members to attend professional development workshops and develop innovative approaches to computer science curriculum and pedagogy.

Who is attending?

What’s going on at the Summit?

The summit also provides a forum to address the gaps in tech diversity that exist in Silicon Valley, where job growth will continue to boom in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that employment in STEM fields will increase by more than 9 million jobs between 2012 and 2022. However, African Americans represent only six percent of the STEM workforce and, according to data from The New York Times, the percentage of minorities working at Silicon Valley giants is even lower. Self-reported data from 11 of the major tech giants, according to CNET.com, reveals that less than 30 percent of their workforce is comprised of women. Of the participating HBCU Innovation Summit students, nearly 40 percent are women.

The summit begins Nov. 16, when students will travel across Silicon Valley and the Bay Area on an “HBCU Tech Trek” to visit Adobe, eBay, Google, NetApp, PureStorage, Salesforce, Symantec, Visa, and Veritas, which are all event sponsors. Read more about these companies and their engagement in this year’s HBCU Innovation Summit.

On Nov. 18, students will participate in a competition to pitch their startup businesses to leaders in the tech industry at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, which works primarily with underrepresented groups to pursue creative strategies that leverage information technology for positive social impact.

The objectives of the HBCU Innovation Summit have proved successful, as nearly a third of 2014 and 2015 participants are now interning or working full-time at technology companies.  >> Read More