Students at Morehouse College in Atlanta will be seeing a lot more green on campus next year.
Sage, the British enterprise software giant with an iconic green logo, is partnering with the all-male HBCU to expand its software engineering program. Starting in the coming fall semester, Sage will be part of sponsoring and developing new software engineering coursework while creating more internship and employment opportunities for students.
This is the first university partnership of this kind for Sage in North America, Aziz Benmalek, President at Sage, told Hypepotamus. The partnership is strategic for the company, which moved its North Americans headquarters to Atlanta in 2015.
“The core of our mission and vision is how to break down barriers so small and medium businesses can thrive, and everyone can thrive,” he said. “[With this partnership], we are helping drive more diversity in the tech industry.”
Despite increased DEI efforts recently, the tech industry only saw a 1% increase in Black representation within technical roles at large tech enterprises over the last 7 years, according to a recent study by Kapor Center. That study, which focuses on racial inequity in the technology sector, also noted that Black students are impacted by “unequal educational structures.”
Dr. Kinnis Gosha, executive director at Morehouse College, said the partnership will help students get exposed to new career paths in emerging tech disciplines. But it will also build trust among the emerging tech leaders coming out of Morehouse.
“There were several intimate conversations with senior leadership at Sage and they assured Morehouse that they’re in this for the long run. They want to have a positive impact in this program for the students,” he told Hypepotamus. “I think establishing that trust really goes a long way to making sure that students aren’t just box checkers for diversity. [Sage] is really concerned with the outcomes of these students and making sure that they have a long fulfilling career in tech.”
Morehouse is home to the first and only software engineering program at an HBCU, and it is a popular major on campus. According to Gosha, around 200 of the 2,200 students on campus are pursuing a computing degree. The partnership with Sage will only increase the opportunities for internships and job opportunities for students down the road.
“It’s really important for students to know what they need to work towards in order for them to be motivated,” Gosha added. “It is really easy to take the path of least resistance if you don’t know and don’t develop the vision and clarity on what is needed to be in these top roles. [Software engineering] roles are extremely competitive.”