Microsoft apparently has a long-term commitment to helping provide education to students of all gender and race, having announced a $75 million investment in computer skills training for young people across 55 countries in 2016. The company is now expanding its educational efforts for students of color in Seattle with new partnerships.
Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President and Lead for Microsoft Philanthropies, announced in a post on LinkedIn that the company is investing $500,000 in two new alliances meant to introduce students of color in Seattle to a wide range of opportunities in computer science and STEM education. Snapp noted that the new partnerships are part of Microsoft's broader effort to "bridge the gaps in equity in the field of technology." She said:
Last year, only five percent of AP Computer Science test takers were African-American and only one-quarter were young women. At the same time, we face a STEM pipeline crisis where our workforce needs are growing at an accelerating pace.
Toward that end, Microsoft has teamed up with Black Girls Code to help the nonprofit organization open a chapter in Seattle. Founded by Kimberly Bryant, its mission is to provide young and pre-teen girls of color with opportunities in programming and technology education. Seattle will be its 14th chapter in addition to 13 others across the U.S.
Additionally, the software giant has expanded its tie-up with Technology Access Foundation (TAF) with a new funding for STEMbyTAF. Founded by former Microsoft leader Trish Millines Dziko in 1997, TAF offers technology skills training, internships, and college prep to students of color in Seattle.