Morgan State alums Joshua Smith and Morgan Whitaker.

In 2018, Northeast Baltimore’s Morgan State University joined a group of 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) participating in the Google Tech Exchange program. It meant that five students from Morgan State went to Google’s campus in Silicon Valley for a semester to take part in an advanced computer science training program.

The Google Tech Exchange partnership was geared toward increasing the number of Black and Latinx students getting exposure to the tech industry. It offered students at (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions real-world experience at a tech giant through applied computer science courses and tech industry projects.

It launched as, between 2014 and 2019, the number U.S. technical employees who are Black or Latinx rose by less than a percentage point at Google and Microsoft, according to reporting by Wired, based on numbers self-reported by the tech giants.

The hope was that a rising tide would raise all ships: Programs like the Google Tech Exchange and the Google in Residence program, which recruiters like April Curley were hired to improve, would lead to more Black and Latinx people hired in the tech industry and, in turn, more hires at Google. recently checked in with two of Morgan State’s participants in the Google Tech Exchange program from fall 2018, and both are working in tech: Joshua Smith is now a software engineer in JP Morgan’s Baltimore office, and Morgan Whitaker is now a product manager for Bethesda-based healthtech startup Mytonomy.

They trace the roots of these roles to the Google program.