When it comes to African-Americans and technology, one usually reads about the digital divide or the lack of Blacks in the IT sector. Well, the 2011 Best Companies for Blacks in Technology not only celebrates Blacks in IT but the best companies for African-American IT specialists.
Produced by the National Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) and WorkplaceDiversity.com, the awards were recently announced and include such companies as Allstate Insurance, American Airlines, BlueCross BlueShield of IL, NM, OK, & TX, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Northrop Grumman, State Farm Insurance, Wal-Mart Store, WellPoint, and Wells Fargo. Awards will be presented at the BDPA National Conference on August 5th.
The top companies for Blacks in technology will receive the Epsilon Award, which is presented annually to the top companies in the nation that promote a workplace and environment that supports the advancement of Blacks in the information technology industry. Last year, the Epsilon Awards went to: Tenure and Promotions: U.S. Navy; Career Path Programs: BlueCross BlueShield of IL, NM, OK, & TX; Minority Vendor Programs: IBM; Community Outreach Programs: State Farm; and Top Company for Blacks in Technology: Eli Lilly.
The companies are recognized for promoting a significant number of African-Americans into their IT management ranks as well as for their outstanding community outreach and minority vendor programs.
“In 2003, BDPA partnered with WorkplaceDiversity.com and introduced the Best Companies for Blacks in Technology awards program to assess selected organizations with respect to the organizational climate for African-Americans,” explains Milt Haynes, founder of Blacks Gone Geek, a social networking initiative dedicated to promoting Blacks in Technology, and past president of BDPA. “There is no similar list for African-Americans in IT so BDPA created this list to fill the void.”
The void still exists, however, and it is growing, according to the latest stats. A study by the Mercury News found that while the collective workforce of Silicon Valley companies grew by 16 percent between 1999 and 2005, an already small population of Black workers dropped by 16 percent. Hispanic workers declined by 11 percent. And, by 2005, only about 2,200 of the 30,000 Silicon Valley-based computer workers were Black or Hispanic. And the drop continues to grow. In fact, Hispanics and Blacks made up a smaller share of the valley’s computer workers in 2008 than they did in 2000.
Founded in 1975, BDPA is a global member-focused organization that is committed to closing the digital divide. It has more than 50 chapters across the United States. WorkplaceDiversity.com is the first career website for companies that want to recruit experienced diversity candidates.