Diversity, Equity & Inclusion2 min read

How VMware and Howard University Are Teaming Up to Prepare the Next Generation of Technology Leaders

Jason James
A view of the Howard University campus October 25, 2021 in Washington, DC.

In 2020 VMware teamed up with Howard University to expose students to VMware’s Telecommunications technology and the Telco industry at large. The school, located in Washington, D.C., is one of nearly a hundred historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States.

In partnership with Howard’s School of Business Information Systems department, our collective vision is to build the first Telco-focused program at an HBCU. VMware is a leader in this space with technologies like Telco Cloud Automation and Telco Cloud Platform. Over the past three years, we have worked with many teams across the company to begin the foundational work for the program’s funding. We have not achieved that goal yet; that work is still ongoing! However, there is progress to celebrate.

Thanks to our Service Provider and Edge Business Unit (SEBU), we funded a $300K grant that gives us the opportunity to expose Howard students to VMware and our Telco work. We also just completed a 2-year successful mentorship program. That mentorship program is part of a two-phased approach to student engagement and exposure. By giving cohorts access to telco professionals and VMware industry executives we are building brand awareness while also introducing Howard students to a new industry that needs diverse talent.  

Supported by VMware’s employee resource group, Black@VMware, we’ve also created and delivered a 3-day DevOps Class to expose students to GitOps methodologies using VMware Tanzu, Github, and bit of HTML coding. The students developed a resume website built using GitOps practices. Check out the lab here.

But perhaps best of all, we hired two talented students, now professionals, into SEBU because of our vision and continued efforts to expand our relationship. Our larger plan is to leverage our success at Howard as a model to engage other HBCUs in developing additional Telco industry-focused programs. Building a telco program of this kind, is a first for VMware and the Howard School of Business. Our vision is to build a repeatable model to engage the HBCU community and build VMware Telco-focused centers of excellence that promote exposure to students and diversity in the Telco industry.