Raytheon Technologies has set a tune for the high school students of color for the next five years to build up an “intentional pipeline”. The technological giant, whose core competencies are in aerospace and defense, will provide $8 million for future math and science scholars, who are participating in the Kapor Center’s SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honor Academy) program. The fund will be used to offer scholarships, mentorships, and internships to high school students of color. The company will also provide a $40,000 scholarship to engineering and computer science each year to 10 SMASH students.
This is not a new initiative of Raytheon Technologies, but a continuation of its $500 million Connect Up program for the last 10 years. This program includes SMASH, which is a 3-year college prep program to help students of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) courses by inviting them to one of the 10 colleges of the country during summers.
To make this initiative a real success, Raytheon has also taken some other steps, such as setting up the National Urban League, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Equal Justice Initiative. The company has also made a pact with the Executive Leadership Council to offer scholarships to black students who are pursuing STEM and business management.
“SMASH’s partnership with Raytheon intends to go beyond just lip service and a big check”, SMASH President Danielle Rose said.
“I feel like I’ve been hollowed out by the words and lack of action, inaction,” she added. “Now, we’re saying let’s follow the words with deep and long-term investments that are going to be required for us to truly diversify the workplace, diversify tech (and) close the opportunity gaps.”
The aim of this partnership between SMASH and Raytheon is to pick the beautiful minds of students other than white, who get left behind due to fewer opportunities, lack of money, and other reasons. According to the Kapor Center report, there are only 5% black professionals in the tech workforce, 3% tech executives, and only 1% tech founders. The report also showed us very slow progress of black representation in the tech companies. The report said that between 2014 and 2020, there has been only a 1% point increase in the black representation in all the top tech companies across the country.
This partnership has come to lessen the gap between whites and students of color by providing them with opportunities that deserving students won’t get with the present system. SMASH students will have “a host of opportunities,” said Pam Erickson, Raytheon’s chief communications officer and head of corporate philanthropy.