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Diversity in Tech: How One VC Firm Is Partnering With Historically Black Colleges to Address the Pipeline Issue


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Rearview shot of a group of students standing on graduation day.

Unusual Ventures this summer will launch a program designed to increase the number of black students working in technical internships by connecting students from historically black colleges and universities with high-growth Silicon Valley startups.

Credit: Getty

Unusual Ventures, a seed-stage investment firm, this summer will launch its Unusual Interns program, designed to increase the number of black students working in technical internships by connecting students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with high-growth Silicon Valley startups.

Currently, black Americans represent less than 5% of the employees at most tech companies, while at least 50% of the workforce at those companies is white, according to the National Urban League's State of Black America 2018 report.

Tech's lack of diversity is often called a pipeline problem, but the homogeneity of the industry also can be attributed to Silicon Valley's passive attitude toward diverse recruitment.

As the first step of the Unusual Interns program, 10 computer science students from a group of handpicked HBCUs will participate in 10- to 12-week internships. The students will be matched with tech companies, and have the opportunity to gain full-time employment after completing the internship.

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