Early Thursday morning The Commerce Department report for gross domestic product showed a decline of 1 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2014. This missed the forecast mark by .4 percent. Jobless claims fell according to the Labor Department. These reports ask a more interesting question as to what a moderate economy and a shrinking jobless rate mean for the future of growth for Americans.
A part of the answer is in the release the statistics of Google’s workforce. The breakdown lists that 30 percent of the Google employees world-wide comprise women. This compares a low percentage to the total United States work force of 47 percent.
More interesting is the statistic from the Labor Dept. that women make-up 20 percent of the software developers in the U.S. but only 17 percent at Google. This release by Google of the statistics is finally revealed after many critical comments from leaders, including Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, civil rights activist. Since 12 percent of the jobs in the U.S. are held by blacks but only 1 percent at Google there is a question on how to achieve a better balance.
Part of the debate come from the fact that tech is a key driver of the economy. This driver does match in demographics, however. Facebook and Hewlett-Packard have not released their statistics of their corporate workforce.
“Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it’s hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts,” Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president for people operations posted on the company blog.
The lack of diversity in the workforce starts with education. According to the statistics, only 18.5 percent of high school students who took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science last year were girls. This is an important statistic for algorithm kings such as Google. To add to the widening disparity is the fact that no black students took it in twelve states and no Hispanic students took the exam in eight of the states.
The Obama administration is on top of this blinding disparity in education and relationship to jobs for the future and growth of America. Last February the President Obama hosted the first ever White House student film festival.
Students from grades K through 12 were invited to submit a three minute video on the topic of technology. The video was to revolve around the question: “Why is technology so important in the classroom -- and how will it effect change the educational experience for kids in the future?”
The response was overwhelming with Tiffany Lin and her video, “Discovery” hailed one of the winners. The President's ConnectED initiative in making sure that changes happen by connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation, high-speed broadband within five years.
With the help of Billy Nye, the Science guy, at the technology event and again at The White House Science Fair May 27, President Obama viewed with amazement the bright students and their entries. Canyon Crest Academy of San Diego senior Eric Chen won $250,000 for his research on potential new drugs to treat influenza at Tuesday's White House Science Fair.
President Obama addressed the students and elaborated on the theme of the 2014 White House Science Fair – girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). “We’re putting a special focus on all the inspiring girls and young women who are excelling in science,” he said, and stated that “fewer than 3 in 10 workers in science and engineering are women ... we've got to change those numbers.”