Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –
If TechAmerica, technology’s largest advocacy organization, would send a banquet invitation to all African-American CEOs of public technology companies, the International Business Times said, the response would be so small that the tech organization would cancel the event.
There are several prominent Blacks right below the CEO level who may be future CEOs, according to IBTimes, including Google's David Drummond, EVP and general counsel; IBM's Rod Adkins, Senior VP for Systems and Technology, and General Electric's Lloyd Trotter, president of GE Industrial Systems, but overall the number is small.
“The important thing is not to be the CEO of Xerox,” eAccess founder John W. Templeton told IBTimes. “The important thing is to be the one who creates the next imaging device.”
Templeton said that the Black community must groom young engineers and scientists in order to expand diversity in the technology sector, but admitted a lack of contracts, financing and access to venture capital has been a challenge to turn dreams into reality.
The number of African Americans who hold jobs in Silicon Valley, the southern part of the San Francisco Bay region that holds the world’s largest technology companies, has tremendously declined. In 2008, only 1.8 African Americans were hired at the 15 largest companies including eBay, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard.
Templeton said “offshoring” in Latin America and Asia has contributed to the decline of diversity.
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has a current membership of 35,800, most are college students who are studying engineering and mathematics.
“The best way to interest young African Americans in technology is by setting a personal example,” said NSBE Chairman Calvin Phelps.
At Cornell University, only six percent of the engineering faculty is minorities and only three percent are African Americans, the IBTimes reports.
A report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workface found that overall, engineering majors of all disciplines reported the highest median earnings at $75,000.