Black History Month is a time to reflect on the profound contributions of the African American community to our nation’s history and culture. As we consider Micron’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse workforce, we are inspired by the significant contributions Black engineers have made to American innovation.
For example, Mary W. Jackson, the first Black female engineer at NASA, was a pioneer who shared her love of math and science with young students in her community, encouraging them to explore the world. She dedicated much of her later career to hiring and promoting NASA’s next generation of female engineers and scientists. Likewise, the electrical engineer Frank S. Greene’s patent for integrated circuits helped Fairchild Semiconductor become a leader in semiconductor technology. This month, we honor the inspiring work of Mary, Frank and countless other Black innovators.
This year’s Black History Month theme at Micron, “Resilience and excellence: Celebrating the journey,” is reflected in the programs our Black Employee Network (BEN) employee resource group (ERG) and DEI teams are preparing, especially as they relate to expanding access to STEM careers. As one of BEN’s executive co-sponsors, I am proud of Micron’s work in increasing awareness of our industry and inspiring future semiconductor innovators and educators.
Breaking down barriers to STEM education and careers
We know that building a diverse workforce helps us to retain the best talent, enabling creativity and innovation. At Micron, we work throughout the year to help young people from Black communities learn about exciting, good-paying semiconductor careers of the future. With a goal of inspiring students to pursue an education in STEM, we have hosted Chip Camp and Girls Going Tech programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and invited Black students to learn from members of Micron’s BEN ERG and visit our site in Manassas, Virginia. These opportunities help young people see themselves represented in STEM careers and imagine their future designing tomorrow’s semiconductors.
Micron is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Industry Partnership Council, which helps to ensure funding for programs, networking opportunities and insight into hiring practices. As part of our commitment, we are hosting a conference workshop in March with our chief diversity inclusion officer, Fran Dillard, Micron technical leaders and industry partners to introduce semiconductor careers as exciting and fulfilling professional opportunities.
Developing Black leaders and educators
Following the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act in 2022 — recognizing the importance of semiconductor research in the U.S. and the industry expansion of manufacturing and research and development capabilities over the next decade — Micron has been making significant commitments to prepare future leaders. One example is the Micron Foundation-funded Micron Academy for Inclusive Leadership at Spelman College, an all-women HBCU. We are creating cohorts of up to 10 incoming first-year students each year to create a sense of belonging, increase leadership skills and develop a greater persistence to degree completion in engineering. Students in the program are also provided structured development and mentorship opportunities with Micron team members.
We are also sponsoring the Center for Black Educator Development’s sixth National Black Men in Education Convening (BMEC) through a Micron Foundation grant. This event, focused on Black male educators and those who support them, is designed to provide inspiration, training and development to improve the long-term outcomes for Black students. In addition to BMEC, the organization also provides year-round mentorship, professional development, and teaching experience for Black high school and college students interested in teaching careers, helping to create a more robust pipeline of Black teachers.
Making a difference
I am proud of our BEN members' crucial role in cultivating talent inside and outside Micron. We’ve launched professional development initiatives for Black team members and partnered with our Talent Acquisition and University Relations teams to recruit at the Black Engineer of the Year Achievement (BEYA) and NSBE conferences. Additionally, our members actively engage with youth, recently hosting the inaugural STEM, Wellness and Movement Village at the Boise Soul Food Festival.
I want to thank all of our BEN members for their work to inspire the next generation of talent, and I look forward to what we will do together in the future. I also want to thank BEN’s executive co-sponsor, Delbert Parks, for his valuable partnership, experience and contributions to driving engagement with the BEN ERG members across the U.S. As we commemorate Black History Month, let's remain steadfast in our commitment to empowering an inclusive workforce of the future, where opportunities are accessible to all.