Indeed, I have been shaking my head throughout this past year whenever I read tweets that linked to announcements that Google and other SV operations were intensifying their recruiting at HBCUs, at minority focused incubator operations like CODE2040, and, much deeper into the pipeline, at community-based tech groups like BlackGirlsCode, YesWeCode, and Qeyno Labs. Having spent over forty years of my life as a tenured faculty member and/or senior staffer at a prominent HBCU, I am delighted that HBCUs received substantial funding and staff support from the nation's leading software houses. And as regular readers of this blog must surely know, I am a full throated supporter of community-based tech groups.
- Software development and related careers in information technology are elite professions. They are not for Joe Average and Jane Average. They are for Joe Smarty-Pants and Jane Smarty-Pants. So you should be searching for the same kinds of Black applicants as your Asian and Caucasian applicants. You should be recruiting from Black America's Talented Tenth.
- Where does the Talented Tenth go to college? (Pause to acknowledge the sad fact that all of the Talented Tenth still does not get the opportunity to go to college. Now moving on.) Back in the Day, as some like to say, the vast majority of the Talented Tenth went to HBCUs. But nowadays less than ten percent of all Black students attend HBCUs, and there is reason to believe that the percentage of the Talented Tenth attending HBCUs is substantially lower.
- Yes, there are truckloads of depressing data that show that America's non-HBCUs -- a/k/a PWIs, predominantly white institutions -- are doing an unforgivably bad job in providing effective opportunities in higher education for most of their Black students. But I am unaware of any data that suggests that the Talented Tenth is being underserved.
- Elite PWIs have a long history of recruiting the Talented Tenth, initiatives that began with the Ivy League in the late 19th and early 20 centuries and were greatly expanded to include just about all of the nation's other elite institutions of higher learning in the aftermath of the Civil Rights victories in the 1960s.
- Two years ago I posted a note on this blog that reported that over 60,000 Black students were enrolled in the nation's top STEM colleges and universities, the same elite colleges and universities where the upper echelons of Silicon Valley went to school. Let's call this component of the Talented Tenth the "Bright Stars". So how were the Bright Stars doing? As interested readers will see from my report, they were graduating at the same rates as the other students at those elite institutions, and sometimes faster.