yolanda_mangolini_6d5691697fb289ff7bedde0fcb45b223.nbcnews-ux-600-480Engineering students at select historically Black colleges and universities may have an advantage over students at other institutions when it comes to getting into the doors of Google. For the past three years, Google has had engineers planted at HBCUs as part of their commitment to increased diversity not just within their institution, but across the industry According to NBC

“Ultimately, what we are trying to do is create a company where our workforce reflects the diversity of our users, where we have a culture where everyone here can thrive and people feel comfortable with being themselves,” Yolanda Mangolini, head of Google’s global Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives, told NBCBLK. “Our mission is to organize the world of information. We cannot be universally useful and accessible if we only look one way.”

In 2013 Google engineers helped to overhaul the Intro to Computer Science course at Howard University. It was the beginning of what would become their Google in Residence (GIR) program. The company is specifically focused on recruiting students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

In 2014, they expanded the GIR to Hampton University, Fisk University, Spelman and Morehouse College. By 2015, the GIR program had expanded to seven HBCUS, adding Xavier and Dillard in Louisiana; and hosted 30 HBCU tech interns.

Chris Hocutt, now a software engineer at Google, had tried unsuccessfully to get his foot into the door of Google his freshman year at Howard University. He had applied to participate in Google’s engineering practicum program, but was denied.

It seemed as though his dream was deferred, until his junior year when one of his professors made a suggestion. That was also the first year of GIR.

“The head of the computer science department was like, ‘talk to this Google instructor and get to know him,'” Hocutt recalled. “He was there primarily for freshmen and sophomores, but I started chit-chatting with him.” READ FULL NBC