Intel to host Jesse Jackson on tech employee diversity

The meeting on Dec. 10 will have representatives of technology companies and other groups

Intel is hosting a meeting organized by Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition, which has been demanding higher employment for blacks, Latinos and women in tech companies.

The meeting on Dec. 10 follows the participation of the civil rights leader at a Microsoft annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, where he asked, among other things, for a commitment from the company that it would actively search for people of color and women for future board openings and C-suite level positions.

The meeting at Intel's Santa Clara campus will discuss strategies for bringing more diversity to the tech industry, said an Intel spokeswoman. Intel will be represented by Rosalind Hudnell, its chief diversity officer, she wrote in an email Thursday.

Rainbow Push Coalition said in a statement that besides its key partners, over 20 technology companies have confirmed their attendance at the workshop.

Tech companies have been targeted by the Rainbow Push Coalition, founded by Jackson, for not employing enough blacks, Latinos and women. Following pressure from the group, some companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook released employee diversity data which showed that their employees in the U.S. were predominantly white followed by Asians.

The EEO-1 workforce diversity reports are typically filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and companies are not required to make the information public.

Describing the disclosure of the employee diversity data as just a first step, Rainbow Push Coalition is now asking companies to "set goals, targets and timetables regarding diversity and inclusion on their Boards, their C-suite leadership and their general employee base."

But tech companies like Google find it difficult to recruit and retain women and minorities, wrote Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president for People Operations, in May. Women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees in the U.S., and blacks and Hispanics each account for under 10 percent of U.S. college graduates and each bag fewer than 10 percent of degrees in computer science majors, he wrote.(

Jackson has said that the argument from tech companies ignores the fact that black people are also severely underrepresented in nontechnical Silicon Valley roles.

"I argue there is no talent deficit, but an opportunity deficit," he told the Microsoft shareholder meeting, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by Rainbow Push.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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