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IBM, HP Partner with HBCUs to Drive Diversity and Inclusion

IBM and HP each have announced expanded partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to drive a more diverse and inclusive tech workforce.

The IBM Quantum education and research initiative is led by Howard University (pictured above) and includes 12 additional HBCUs. The initiative will offer access to IBM’s quantum computers and enable collaboration with academic, education and community outreach programs, according to a statement from IBM.

IBM also will make a $100 million investment in technology, assets, resources and skills development by partnering with HCBUs through the IBM Skills Academy Academic Initiative, the company said in the statement.

IBM Announces Partnership with HBCUs

Dario Gil, director of research, IBM
Dario Gil, director of research, IBM

The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center is a multi-year investment designed to prepare and develop  talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future, IBM said in the statement. It will focus on developing students through support and funding for research opportunities, curriculum development, workforce advocacy and special projects focusing on quantum computing, according to the statement.

"Diversity is a source of competitive advantage, essential to create a thriving quantum industry," said Dario Gil, director of IBM Research. "We could not be more excited about partnering with our HBCU colleagues to help educate and empower the first generation of quantum computing native students and researchers."

HP's HBCU Business Challenge

Lesley Slaton Brown, chief diversity officer, HP

Meanwhile, HP announced its latest HBCU Business Challenge, designed to engage Black students interested in pursuing careers in business and technology, according to a statement from HP.

Participants in HP’s fourth annual HBCU Business Challenge will tackle critical business problems, gain real-world, on-the-job experience and identify potential career paths and job opportunities while expanding their professional networks, HP said in the statement.

In March 2020, HP piloted a new learning program in partnership with North Carolina A&T State University that provided HP MultiJet Fusion 3D printing equipment and a commitment to provide HBCU students with internships and apprenticeships to the university’s College of Engineering and College of Science and Technology, HP said in the statement. HP believes the pilot program will serve as a model for future similar programs with other HBCUs, according to the statement.

“The HBCU Business Challenge is an integral part of our holistic partnership with the HBCUs and it embodies our commitment to provide talent with access, knowledge and opportunity. At HP, our long-term goal is to reinvent the standard for diversity, inclusion and belonging and this begins with paving the way for more Black talent to pursue careers in the tech industry,” said Lesley Slaton Brown, chief diversity officer at HP.

ChannelE2E closely follows tech vendor and channel partner companies' efforts to create a more equitable technology industry. You can find our coverage and news here.