05.19.15

Congresswoman Lee Joins Launch of CBC Tech 2020

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Diversity Task Force, joined CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield and Task Force members in launching the CBC Tech 2020 Initiative.

The CBC Tech 2020 Initiative is a bold program designed to engage the tech sector in a coordinated effort to achieve full representation of African Americans by 2020.

“Technology has revolutionized our lives and continues to be a driving force in our economy.  African Americans must be included in every aspect of this technological revolution – not just as end users or as a market share,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

The Level Playing Field Institute estimates the tech sector will create 1.4 million jobs by 2020. Given the current rate at which U.S. universities are producing qualified graduates, 70 percent of these jobs will be unfilled.  African Americans remain a largely untapped talent pool to close this gap.

“I have the honor of representing the East Bay, a hot bed for innovation and tech firms, in Congress and I am very familiar with this industry. The numbers tell the story: inclusion of African Americans in the tech workforce has been treated as an afterthought for far too long,” added Congresswoman Lee.

Just one in fourteen Silicon Valley technical employees are African American or Latino.

“As the momentum for change continues to build, companies are starting to see that innovation and market success requires a representative and diverse workforce,” added Congresswoman Lee. “Through this initiative, the CBC will be a driving force towards a truly inclusive tech workforce by 2020.”

Specifically, TECH 2020 seeks:

  • T – Transparency,
  • E – Education & Training,
  • C – Corporate Responsibility & Investment, and
  • H – Hiring & Retention.

The livestream is available here: https://youtu.be/cLZhGMU_e78

Individuals and groups may submit questions to the CBC panel by using #TECHdiversity from 1:00-2:30PM PT today.  The launch event was moderated by Ben Jealous and Rev. Jesse Jackson provided closing remarks.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.