How are You Lifting Others?

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Success means nothing unless you use that success to lift others up as well. There are many quotes that all equate to this same belief – a belief and mentality I’ve found is especially prevalent in the Black community. This commitment to lifting others has helped me build a career. I grew up in one of Los Angeles’ most impoverished neighborhoods where the outlook was bleak. This commitment to lifting others is also what drives the Dell Technologies family to push for truly equal opportunity each day.

I was thinking about this recently with Black History Month approaching. While Black History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions African Americans have made to U.S. history, it’s also a time to take stock and look forward – have we laid the groundwork for the Black community to impact our nation’s next great chapter in history?

2020 marks the beginning of what we at Dell Technologies are calling the Next Data Decade – a time when data, and the tech advancements it will drive, will create history. As one of the largest tech companies in the world, we have a role to play to ensure the exciting technological advancements coming are built by the diverse communities they’ll impact and are inclusive by design. We must lead from the front to change the narrative of diversity in tech. Today, just seven percent of the U.S. tech industry is Black/African American.

Recruiting young talent and collaborating on solutions will be key to changing this stat. That’s why we became a signatory to the HBCU Partnership Challenge. The Challenge brings together government, industry and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to “ensure that HBCUs and their students are an equal part of their recruitment and hiring efforts.”

As a company committed to keeping our “say versus do” ratio in-check, we quickly got to work on efforts to deliver on our commitment. One program that holds a lot of promise is Project Immersion. Started in January 2019 and growing rapidly, this curriculum partnership between Dell Technologies and select HBCUs and MSIs (minority serving institutions) prepares students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the technology industry. Classes and workshops are available on topics including: data science, sales engineering, cloud infrastructure and more. Partner universities to-date include: Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University and Howard University.

Back to that commitment to bringing others along as the true measure of success, the biggest value and pride point of Project Immersion is its adjunct instructor model. Courses are led by Dell Technologies team members who volunteer their time to teach students the skills they use in their day jobs.

These passionate volunteers come from across the Dell Technologies family of businesses – Dell, VMware, Pivotal and Secureworks. Many are members of employee resource groups for the Black community and are HBCU alums themselves who are doing their part to lift others up and build a more diverse talent pipeline. A big thanks to them for making this impactful program possible!

To mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day last month, we launched a new addition to the Project Immersion curriculum – cybersecurity. This rapidly growing field is full of opportunity for career growth and our Secureworks team is eager to train up its future workforce.

Just over a year into Project Immersion and in the midst of Black History Month, we’re keeping the momentum going with a roundtable event later this month. Morehouse College will host elected officials, administrators from Atlanta-based HBCUs, Project Immersion students, nonprofit partners and Dell Technologies leaders for a discussion on the types of programs and collaborations that will build a more representative technology industry. Watch out for updates from the event at the university’s historic African American Hall of Fame on social media.

In the words of Dr. King, an Atlanta native and Morehouse College alumni, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’” I am grateful this month, and every month, for those who use their success to lift others in the Black community.

Happy Black History Month everyone.

Learn more about some of the initiatives and partnerships Dell Technologies has in place to get more Blacks in tech:

About the Author: Brian Reaves

Brian Reaves was previously the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of Dell, responsible for Dell’s global diversity and inclusion initiatives.
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