January 21, 2007

Blacks in Technology

Live long enough and you get your name in the paper! I was contacted recently by Pia Sarkar. She is a staff writer for San Francisco Chronicle. She was doing an article on a powerful brother who runs a technology company in the Bay Area ... Michael Fields. She contacted the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation to get some perspective on how African Americans are doing in the IT industry. Anyhow, I invite you to learn about Mr. Fields and to check out some facts and figures on African Americans in the technology industry.

It just comes naturally
Software executive helps open up the technology field for minorities
- Pia Sarkar, Chronicle Staff Writer

Michael Fields is not one to preach about giving back to the community, even though he's done more than his share. As an African American who has held several high-level positions in the technology industry, he has helped recruit women and minorities into the field, provided office space for companies that are just starting out and worked aggressively to create technology jobs in the Virgin Islands, where his wife grew up.

For Fields, giving back to the community is something that comes naturally.

"I have the capability to do it," he said. "I certainly have the desire."

African Americans have long held only a small percentage of jobs in the technology industry, and an even smaller percentage of the executive positions like the one Fields now occupies. At 61, he is the chief executive officer of Kana, a software company in Menlo Park. He previously worked as president of Oracle's domestic operations and started his own software company, OpenVision.

Wayne Hicks, past president of Black Data Processing Associates, an organization focused on attracting more African Americans to technology, said that a low high school graduation rate coupled with a lack of exposure to technology jobs makes it difficult to increase those percentages. There is also a very small network for African Americans to tap.

"We don't have someone in those executive suites looking out for us," he said.

Click here to read the remainder of the article.

1 comment:

Villager said...

I see that my comments in the newspaper article became the subject of a discussion in the Global Forum. Click here to see the thread -->