Greater Inclusion in High Tech Sector Creates New Pipeline to Prosperity

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In America’s burgeoning digital economy, technology is shaping the ways we live, work, and play. At the same time, demographics are rapidly changing. People of color are becoming even more important to the success of the nation’s workforce. Yet even though people of color account for nearly 40 percent of the nation’s population, these groups generally end up on the wrong side of the digital divide. Access to, and productive use of technology offers a solution, but that same technology can potentially exacerbate already extant social and economic divides.

Given changing demographics and the inequities some groups face, ensuring America’s continued growth and prosperity requires a more diverse, inclusive workforce. At the same time, we must also ensure the continued availability of the most critical infrastructure of the Information Age – spectrum. Consumer demand for mobile technologies is increasing at an exponential pace. As our dependence on technology and Internet-based applications increases, so too does our need for more spectrum. Creating an inclusive digital economy requires two primary new inputs: (1) sufficient spectrum and infrastructure to support the continued growth and innovation of America’s digital economy; and (2) opportunities for multicultural engagement along the economic chain – from consumers, to entrepreneurs, to owners and licensees of spectrum. Continue reading →

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Pugh: Obama Administration Takes Historic Step Toward Solar Equality, But Much Work Remains

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images (1)For far too long, working-class families have been left out of the solar revolution in the United States. Black elected officials from across the country, including many members of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), have been among the most vocal advocates for more fairness and inclusiveness in solar programs, taking every opportunity to highlight how the poorest among us are poised to benefit most immediately and profoundly from greater adoption of solar power.

Now, finally, the sun is starting to peek through the clouds that have long shrouded these households thanks to a major new solar initiative launched by President Obama. We applaud the President for these efforts and hope that he and his staff will continue working with us to achieve energy equity.

To date, the benefits of solar power have tended to accrue primarily to wealthier families, while low-income families continued to struggle with rising energy costs. Many low-income families face a “heat or eat” dilemma, rendering them “energy insecure” and facing decisions, like whether to keep the lights on or food on the table, that nobody in America should ever have to make. Moreover, while government energy policies are well intended to further the deployment of green energy they often utilize economic policies that have the unfortunate consequence of hollowing out the middle and low-income communities.

This is thanks to state-level policies like net metering and generous federal tax subsidies that have created significant barriers to participating. The result has been a widening of the “energy divide” between those who can afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on panels and who have a roof to install them on, and those who simply don’t have access to those resources. And most offensive and disturbing of all is that those who can’t afford to participate are oftentimes picking up some of the costs that are being shed by wealthier people.

An inequitable cost shift from those with the rooftop systems to those without is occurring in some states. In fact, in 2014 NBCSL released a white paper urging the implementation of equitable energy polices to end this cost shift created by outdated policies but especially net metering where the costs are hidden. The electric grid which provides an integral service to all Americans — rich, poor, black and white — and it needs to be funded by all those who use it.

President Obama administration’s announcement is in many ways a validation of what black elected officials and other advocates for the urban poor have long been fighting for. Included in the administration’s plan is a National Community Solar Partnership, which will be launched to unlock access to solar for households and businesses that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems. The plan also sets an installation goal of 300 megawatts of renewable energy, a considerable sum, in federally subsidized housing, a huge boon for the thousands of low-income families living in these buildings. Much of this progress will be made through partnerships with organizations that will yield 260 solar projects. More than $500 million has already been committed from public, private and philanthropic sources to help implement this plan.

Additionally, President Obama administration’s plan will provide opportunities for job training in the solar industry and create jobs in underserved communities.

In sum, the announcement by the President lends additional credence to the work of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators to make renewable energy sources available to and an economic development impetus for minority communities. But the fight is not won yet. We must continue to revisit and revise laws and policies to provide more opportunities for low-income consumers to access solar. And the more people we have engaged in this discussion — from the President on down to neighbors and family members — the better our chances of succeeding. So if you support solar — contact your state representative! If you stand by your less fortunate brothers and sisters, contact your state representative! If you want a bright solar future for everyone, not just the rich, contact your state representative! Only a concerted push at every level will help us bring access to solar power for all Americans.

As reported on HuffPost Generation Change

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Google Releases 2015 Workforce Data

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“Google’s commitment to transparency and the release of their data is a good thing.  While Google is making some progress in accelerating the hiring of Blacks and Latinos, their representation remains unchanged at just 2% and 3% respectfully.” Reverend Jesse Jackson

In his May 28, 2014 blog post, Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior VP of People of Operations, stated, “We’ve always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We now realize we were wrong, and that it’s time to be candid about the issues. Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts.”

Recently, Google released their 2015 EEO-1 and workforce diversity data. RainbowPUSH commends them for disclosing their data for the second straight year, fulfilling the commitment they made one year ago to Rainbow PUSH and the public at their May 2014 shareholder meeting.

Prior to Google’s initial release of their diversity data in May 2014, only Intel had consistently released their EEO-1 report and workforce diversity data.   RainbowPUSH successfully engaged over 25 companies to release their data that thrust the issues of diversity and inclusion to the forefront of Silicon Valley’s agenda.  The documented systemic underrepresentation of African Americans and Latinos in the boardrooms, c-suites and workforces in the tech industry could no longer be ignored. Continue reading →

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Trying To Hire A Diverse Team Of Engineers? It’s Not Just A Pipeline Issue

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Don’t assume candidates know how coding interviews work.

Recently, there have been a flurry of articles discussing the lack of diversity in tech. Many reference “pipeline” issues as justification for the low numbers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, blacks and Hispanics collectively make up approximately 18 percent of U.S. computer science graduates, yet Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn are between 8 to 11 percent non-white, non-Asian, and Google’s American workforce is only 2 percent black. Clearly, there’s more than just a pipeline issue at play.


Here’s what I see from my perspective as a black computer science student, and here’s what I think companies wanting to hire more people like me can be doing differently. Continue reading →

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Helping Women Build Businesses…One Stiletto at a Time

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Stiletto Network is a story of female friendship—disguised as a business story, a tale of women banding together to improve lives and companies and communities, to realize their dreams and change the world.

Women like Kim Moses, who created the most downloaded app in the history of Warner Bros. Or Jennifer Nason, who oversaw the largest high-yield bond offering of 2010. Or Mallun Yen, who joined the founding team of RPX, one of the fastest-growing start-ups in history, and steered it toward a $1 billion IPO. Or Joan Amble and Marilyn Alexander, who were fast-tracked to corporate board seats. Or Shauna Mei, a go-getter in her 20s who launched a company and got John Mack, the former Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, on her board. Or Bonnie McElveen-Hunter and Melanie Sabelhaus, who created the most successful fundraising pilot in the history of The Red Cross.

What do they have in common? They’re all members of Stiletto Networks.

During the past few years, women’s groups have been coalescing in every major American city. Formidable ladies across industries are convening at unprecedented rates; they’re forming dinner groups and networking circles, and collaborating not only to achieve clout and success, but also to create a more just, equal society.

With engrossing narrative marked by compassion and wit, Stiletto Network is the first book to shed light on this groundbreaking movement.


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Forbes: The Best Places To Launch A Startup In 2014

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Based on our analysis of over 27 million U.S. businesses, we believe the next generation of entrepreneurs will flock to cities not because of growing job rates and income levels, but because of community engagement and access to resources.

We evaluated the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. on a number of criteria we have found to evince community engagement and availability of resources to small businesses:

The convergence of a number of economic conditions and consumer trends has hatched a business environment in the U.S. that embraces small business, and we are on the verge of revitalized small business communities across the country. To determine which U.S. cities are the most amenable to the wave of small business owners that will establish local roots in the upcoming year, we have developed a unique set of criteria based on data available within Radius.

The Radius database analyzes billions of data points about businesses in the U.S. each day, and from those data we can deduce unique insights about the communities that are most advantageous to small business owners. Based on our analysis of over 27 million U.S. businesses, we believe the next generation of small business owners will flock to cities not because of growing job rates and income levels, but because of community engagement and access to resources.

View Top 12 cities HERE

Continue reading →

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AT&T Partners With Howard University to Host Mobile App Hackathon Focused on Women in Tech

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This fall, the Howard University School of Business is partnering with AT&T to host the “AT&T Mobile App Hackathon in DC” from October 10-11. The event will open up doors for entrepreneurs and professionals inspired by the power of technology to be able to develop mobile apps using cutting edge platforms and hardware supplied onsite.

With a women in tech focus, AT &T says it’s on the lookout for new creative female innovators to lead teams at the 2014 AT&T #WIThack – a series of Women in Tech hackathons that take place across the country. AT&T sees female developers and designers as key to the world of technology, stressing their progressive approach to innovation that embraces openness and promotes the collaboration between talented individuals of all genders and backgrounds.

“We believe that women provide a critical spark to the tech industry and through empowering opportunities like this, female technologists will be the catalyst we need to accelerate innovation and economic growth,” says AT&T. Continue reading →

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Minority Engineer Magazine: Challenges of a Diverse Workforce

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The integration of millennial- generation employees in the workforce is viewed as a significant diversity challenge. Eighty percent believe strategic changes are needed to accommodate younger employees in the workforce.

Business growth depends on attracting and retaining a workforce with globally diverse values and demographics, according to a study sponsored by Success Factors, an SAP AG company and provider of cloud-based HCM software. With diversity increasingly seen as a strategic business advantage, human resources (HR) executives agree that companies must embrace multicultural and multi-generational needs to meet ongoing recruitment and retention goals. Key findings of the study include: Continue reading →

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Llorenz: Net Neutrality’s Brain Drain and Distraction

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Our full and focused attention on bridging those gaps, stimulating and spreading the digital economy to everyone, and realizing universal broadband adoption must be our community focus.

As a national community, we debate and think often about the impact of the Internet on our lives. The issues that emerge in those conversations are tied to real needs – for affordable connectivity, access to laptops and mobile tech for learning and business, as examples. Latino tech leaders talk about the stories of Dreamers organizing on social media via mobile devices, and how they kept up with el Mundial at work, by checking Facebook from their phones.

Net neutrality doesn’t even come up in conversation. Yet the outcome of the seemingly never ending debate over net neutrality or the “Open Internet” does have an important effect: it distracts us from the real issues facing the Internet and those depending on it. Continue reading →

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Net Metering and Its Potential Impact on Low-Income Consumers

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Consumers, particularly African-Americans, are increasingly interested in safe, reliable, energy-efficient, self-sufficient and affordable options.

imagesPaul Krugman, in a recent New York Times Op-Ed titled The Big Green Test Conservatives and Climate Change, argued that “emissions taxes are the Economics 101 solution to pollution problems” and saluted former Republican Treasury secretary Henry Paulson for eschewing “climate denial” in his own party by agreeing that a broad tax on carbon emissions is both wise and necessary.

Despite the overall strength of Krugman’s position, he was misguided in stating that one of the “second-best things” to carbon taxes is “net metering,” which “mandates requiring that utilities buy back the electricity generated by homeowners’ solar panels.” The brilliant MIT professor and Nobel Prize-winning economist seems to have missed the disparate and troublesome impact of net metering. Indeed, while boosting sales of green technologies, net metering often does so on the backs of our nation’s poor, especially Black people. Continue reading →

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