Microsoft is investing half a million dollars in two initiatives centred on coding and technology training for students of colour.
The firm will partner with Black Girls Code, a non-profit created by Kimberly Bryant that creates coding clubs for pre-teen girls of colour. Microsoft’s investment will be used to set up a chapter of the organisation in it’s own backyard, Seattle.
Microsoft is also furthering its existing support of Technology Access Foundation. The foundation was set up in 1997 by former Microsoft exec Trish Millines Dziko.
Initially an out-of-school program for students of colour, TAF has since opened its own school and provides consultancy on eliminating race-based disparity in academic achievements.
Microsoft’s investment will support STEMbyTAF - an initiative to replicate the work of the foundation in other educational institutions.
"The partnerships build on Microsoft's long-term commitment and responsibility to help ensure every young person has access to computer science education, from all gender, racial, ethnic, geographic and income backgrounds,” said Microsoft Philanthropies VP and lead Mary Snapp.
"Kimberly and Trish are extraordinary role models for young women of colour and have made it their life's work to ensure all students of colour - especially black and brown girls - have the access, encouragement and support they need to pursue careers in technology.
“To do so, both believe these students need more culturally relevant learning opportunities that include mentoring and relationship building with teachers and adult engineers that look like them and have shared experiences as women of colour."
This is the latest in the Big M’s many moves to open up the games and technology field to a wider field. This year saw the publisher push accessibility with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, in a company-wide move to empower differently-abled players.