I, like most of my peers, have been noticing the lack of diversity in the workplace, but especially in tech, for years. According to recent data, blacks and Latinos make up less than 5 percent of the tech workforce, and it’s white men who mainly comprise the sector. In light of this data, programs like Opportunity Hub’s (OHUB) HBCU@SXSW aim to disrupt these statistics by offering students like me early exposure and recruitment opportunities in tech, entrepreneurship, and investment. Here’s a look at my first experience at SXSW during the interactive week.
Hosted by the Metropolitan Policy Program (Metro), opening remarks from Andre Perry, David M. Rubenstein Fellow at Brookings, and Rodney Sampson, nonresident senior fellow at Brookings and Chairman and CEO of The Opportunity Hub, set the tone for two panels of lively conversation around opportunities for black students in the tech space, as well as how HBCUs can be a catalyst for black students’ entrepreneurial success. Mark Muro, Senior Fellow and Policy Director for Metro, also presented new research related to the opportunities and challenges present for black Americans in the digital economy, and Nicol Turner-Lee, Fellow for Governance Studies, discussed salient points on how the skills gap can be closed in her concluding remarks.