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Google donates $775,000 in grants to Code2040 to improve diversity in tech

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Money won't solve tech's diversity issues, but it can help open doors

Google has given $775,000 in grants to Code2040, a nonprofit group that looks to improve diversity in tech, according to The Wall Street Journal. Over the next two years, the grants will help Code2040 launch free training programs for 5,000 black and Latino college engineering students, and allow the organization to expand into three new cities.

"Inspire youth who might not be thinking about this as a career path."

Code2040 — whose name is derived from the year when minorities will become the majority in the United States — already has a fellows program, thanks to nearly $4 million in grants from the Knight Foundation, Marc Andreessen, and Airbnb, whose diversity The Verge took a look at last month. The program has graduated 50 fellows who have gone to work at prominent tech companies including LinkedIn, Jawbone, and Facebook. One of Google's grants will allow the group to build a program that teaches black and Latino students how to successfully apply and interview for more technical jobs and internships.

5,000 Black and Latino engineering students will get free training programs from Code2040

"One of the reasons that there is this opportunity gap for black and Latino engineers is that they have a smaller relevant network and fewer resources and insight around what’s required to get jobs in tech," Laura Weidman Powers, Code2040 co-founder and CEO said to the Journal. "The progress around transparency and willingness to talk about this issue of diversity in tech has been huge over the last year. What I’m hoping will be the next step is a willingness to be honest about what’s working and what isn’t."

Google is following in the footsteps of Intel which has pledged $300 million over the next five years to improve diversity in the tech industry. With a staff that is 70 percent male and 60 percent white, Google is in the same boat as just about everyone else in the industry — sorely lacking in gender and racial diversity. Giving grants to an organization like Code2040 shows that Google is looking to fix tech's diversity problem at its root, by making the talent pipeline more diverse.

Another grant from Google will allow Code2040 to give one black or Latino entrepreneur in Austin, Texas; Chicago; and Durham, North Carolina, a year-long stipend and workspace to build their own startup. The entrepreneur will be tasked with finding ways to connect the cities' tech industries with its minority populations. "The idea is that you inspire youth who might not be thinking about this as a career path," John Lyman, head of partnerships at Google for Entrepreneurs said to the Journal.