Silicon Valley is once again under immense pressure to diversify its workforce in the coming year.
Leading the push is the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, which seeks to correct the lack of minority presence in tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. During the organization’s annual conference on Dec. 12 in Dallas, several members called for the ratification of the “Supporting the Diversification of Tech Industry’s Empowerment” resolution.
The resolution, which calls for more employee diversification among major Silicon Valley tech companies in 2015, was sponsored by State representatives Gilda Cobb Hunter (D-S.C.), Joe Armstrong (D-Tenn.), Alan Williams (D-Fla.), Laura V. Hall (D-Ala.), Floyd McKissick (D-N.C.), and Geraldine Thompson (D-Fla). The lawmakers seek additional outreach programs, training and increased hiring of minorities in their communities.
“When Google and Facebook released their dismal diversity statistics of their workforce earlier this year, it became clear that the lack of diversity in the technology firms was not just a trend, it is a reality,” Cobb-Hunter said in a statement. “This resolution is an opportunity to identify both the problem and potential solutions to this pressing issue.”
Though the number of jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are projected to grow by 17 percent by 2018, according to the STEM Education Coalition; lawmakers argued that if minorities cannot contribute to the field, they will lag behind in reaping those economic benefits.
According to USA Today, the tech field’s workforce predominantly consists of White and Asian men. On average, only about two percent of technology workers at seven Silicon Valley companies were African American, and three percent were reported to be of Hispanic descent.
As a part of the initiative to raise awareness on diversifying Silicon Valley, the state lawmakers hope to take further action by providing training on a local scope, especially in schools, universities and through business partnerships, according to Newsone.