The Code Next Lab is a space for minority middle school students to learn about tech

It is undeniable that tech has a diversity problem. Although a growing industry with a seemingly bright future ahead, there is a clear lack of minority and female representation. This problem has been identified but it must also be alleviated in order to facilitate even greater growth and create better services. Google has come up with one approach to this problem through the creation of the Code Next Lab. The 1,500-square foot lab is located in Oakland, California and is available for middle school students to use. It was designed especially with black and Latino students in mind.

Google decided to move forward with this plan after realizing that the diversity problem stems from a variety of sources. One of the main sources is the lack of access minority students have to computer science education from a young age. This led to Google creating a space within a community in need of a tech space. They partnered up with design firm Kurani and local community groups to provide outreach to students in need, offering free programs.

The space itself is designed in a way to keep students curious. The walls are plastered with images of accomplished minorities in the field, such as Melba Roy, a prominent black woman who led a group of NASA mathematicians in the 1960s. There also contains high-tech gadgets such as 3D printers and deconstructed Beats headphones. Google wanted to fill the space with physical tech items that get students excited and engaged. There is also a blank area where students can display their work on both physical and digital platforms.

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Google wants this place to be a safe learning environment where students can truly try innovative experiments without being afraid of any consequences while becoming emboldened to pursue tech as a career. The program has been a success so far. As a result, the company is working on expanding the program, building a lab in Harlem that will be opened later this year. They also plan on open-sourcing the curriculum to educators. Hopefully, this will encourage others to contribute to creating more equal systematic changes.

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Kurani | Google

It is undeniable that tech has a diversity problem. Although a growing industry with a seemingly bright future ahead, there is a clear lack of minority and female representation. This problem has been identified but it must also be alleviated in order to facilitate even greater growth and create better services. Google has come up with one approach to this problem through the creation of the Code Next Lab. The 1,500-square foot lab is located in Oakland, California and is available for middle school students to use. It was designed especially with black and Latino students in mind.