This is the story about the birth of CTD Development Services Inc. We are charitable non-profit entrepreneurship, business skills training, and mentoring organization.
This story explains why our long-term goals are associated with the data in the Google Diversity Report. It explains why several of our clients are involved in youth soccer, and why we must have a presence in our public schools.
The Google Diversity Report
The focus of the story was on women in particular, and not race. Nonetheless, the story gave me sufficient cause to look up the report. I wanted to see how well represented Blacks and Hispanics were at Google.
Representation and Income Opportunity
I am painfully familiar with the historically low performance of both groups on standardized tests. I wondered what those scores translated to in terms of representation. Not to be swayed by data generalizations, I paid special attention to Black/Hispanic representation in tech positions.
Tech positions are the ones that pay really well in tech companies, and my attention was directed at them. Watch my YouTube video on The Highest Paying Companies In The US to see just how much people in tech positions make on average. Just click here.
Combined, Blacks and Latinos made up around 11% of all new hires for tech positions. They made up around 10% of existing employees in tech positions. Those are low numbers. Representation dropped further when I looked at the management team’s racial composition.
Firsthand Experience As An Underrepresented Minority
My findings didn’t surprise me. My assumption was that to obtain a tech position one has to know some advanced math and coding. Such courses are essential for understanding the logic of coding, algorithms, microprocessor capacities, machine learning, etc…
I took classes like that in college. My major was Math at UC Berkeley, and I took some courses in computer science, chemistry, and physics. Plus, I worked as assistant to the Executive Director at the Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Astrophysics. By default that put me in contact with many students majoring in these areas. Very, very, very few of them were Black or Hispanic.
A New Opportunity To Keep An Old Vow
I thought Google could do better than the universities and corporations did back in the 80s. However, the opportunity inequalities had not changed.
First, I thought they hired the wrong person to find and recruit qualified Blacks and Hispanics. I briefly fantasized about driving to the Google offices in Santa Monica, CA. I was going to drop off my business card, and tell the secretary, “Hey, I just heard you’re having problems meeting your staff diversity goals. Tell your boss that for the right salary, I’ll get it done. Here’s my card.”
Luckily, I came to my senses. Instead I called an old friend with whom I worked 20+ years ago. Our program was called the Inglewood Academic Athletic Incentive Program. Back then our goal was to diversify our universities. We did that by enabling more Black and Hispanic students from the City of Inglewood to pursue a college education. We would be the great equalizers, for kids from Inglewood at least.
Strategy For Diversity
We ran a good incentive program back then. The students really wanted to play on our teams. We used soccer as the incentive to demand better attendance and academic performance from our players. We pushed the kids to hit the books, learn the minimum requirements to qualify for admission into a UC or CSU, and then apply. Those who failed to uphold their end of the bargain would not play on game day.
The strategy worked. For a brief moment we made the barometer needle shake for the kids from Inglewood. Through my contract work, I was even able to set aside some earnings to award small scholarships to our best and brightest.
We knew that we were onto something. Through our work we got lots of students to attend college. Were it not for our encouragement, tutoring, and mentoring, many of these students wouldn’t have even bothered to apply. As life would have it, I went on a decade long journey, testing my own capabilities to thrive in a corporate environment. Our collaboration was put on hold for a while.
When I heard this report about diversity at Google, I was already working on my corporate exit plan. I had made a personal vow to return to my old stomping grounds to finish what I started. My old partner happened to be doing the same. The timing was perfect.
Finishing What We Started
Now, with both of us looking to finish what we started, the goal is to diversify Silicon Beach. Our motto is Bring Google to da Hood, and Bring da Hood to Google. The desired outcome is neighborhood beautification without gentrification.
Measuring Our Impact
Levels of college access, representation in large tech companies, and economic opportunity are the metrics we will monitor. We’ll know we’ve made a difference when we see visible evidence of neighborhood transformation. We intend to make a difference that lasts.
Visit our Plan page to learn how we intend to stimulate neighborhood beautification without gentrification.