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UNCF and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Forge Partnership to Address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Silicon Valley

UNCF and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Forge Partnership to Address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Silicon Valley
Posted By: Kennedy Williams on December 06, 2021

UNCF – the nation’s most effective minority education organization – and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) – California’s most dynamic business association, representing more than 350 leading companies in Silicon Valley – today announced a partnership and initiative that will connect HBCU students to internship and career opportunities within the Silicon Valley tech companies, and address longstanding tech-workforce diversity issues.

The partnership will leverage existing UNCF programs and initiatives, including the HBCU Computer Science Academy, HBCU Tech Innovation Summit, Career Pathways Initiative and student professional development programs. The partnership will also leverage UNCF’s media platform to promote and support HBCU leadership and their vision for increasing internships and career opportunities for their students at Silicon Valley tech companies. In addition, SVLG will leverage its resources and assets and relationships with its member companies to facilitate HBCU student internships and identify career opportunities for students.

“We strongly believe HBCUs are an essential part of the answer to longstanding diversity, equity and inclusivity issues that continue to challenge the Silicon Valley tech-industry,” said Dr. Michael Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “The underrepresentation of Black students and high-tech professionals in Silicon Valley is well known. Our partnership with SVLG represents a tremendous opportunity for HBCU leadership to collaborate and articulate a concerted vision for how our community can engage Silicon Valley tech-companies at the highest levels and help shape their vision for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Silicon Valley ecosystem.”

“Ultimately, we want to empower our students to be competitive in the Valley’s workforce, thrive as entrepreneurial leaders and empower our campuses to continue to serve as beacons of light for economic opportunity in the Black community as they have always been. This is only the beginning of what I believe will be an ongoing and fruitful relationship with SVLG,” Lomax continued.



“SVLG is proud to partner with the UNCF to address longstanding challenges in recruiting and retaining talent in Silicon Valley,” said Ahmad Thomas, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “We recognize that our partnership with the UNCF is critical because if we are to achieve equitable access and scale across the HBCU landscape.”

The UNCF—SVLG partnership seeks to establish deep connections and sustainable relationships between HBCUs and Silicon Valley companies that will produce mutually beneficial outcomes. The partnership will utilize a collective impact approach to achieve the following goals:

Promoting HBCU leadership and establishing mutually beneficial relationships with Silicon Valley corporate leaders

Developing strategies that will identify internship opportunities for African American/HBCU students interested in pursuing careers in the Silicon Valley tech-industry

Leveraging and expanding existing programs and, where needed, developing new initiatives that will provide skills training and mentorship opportunities for HBCU students seeking careers in the tech industry

Building sustainable networks and community for HBCU students and alumni with the African American community in the Bay Area

To kick off the partnership, UNCF and SVLG will co-host an HBCU leadership panel called “HBCUs: Forging Bonds with Silicon Valley” that is taking place during SVLG’s Hire Learning Summit – a virtual summit that is being held today. The SVLG “Hire Learning Education Summit” and HBCU leadership panel will bring together HBCU presidents, top Biden administration officials and leaders of global companies to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion challenges facing the Silicon Valley workforce, and opportunities to sustain economic growth within the Silicon Valley community.

The panel will feature several HBCU presidents in a discussion moderated by UNCF President CEO Dr. Michael Lomax and will provide a platform for HBCU leaders to share their perspectives and insights on how the Silicon Valley industry would benefit tremendously from access to the HBCU talent pool. The HBCU presidents participating in the panel are Dr. Glenda Glover, Tennessee State University; Dr. Mary Schmidt-Campbell, Spelman College; Dr. C. Reynold Verret, Xavier University; and Dr. Vann Newkirk, Sr., Fisk University.

SOURCE: UNCF
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