Google’s program for Black college students had many problems, former participants say

By: | February 22, 2021

In 2017, Lauren Clayton joined the inaugural class of Howard West, Google’s on-campus immersion program for Black college students. She became a star scholar whose big smile would grace marketing materials and news coverage. As the only Black woman in that inaugural class to score a coveted internship offer from Google, she now says the program’s leaders didn’t deliver on the promises that inspired her to accept the offer in the first place.

“I had nothing but positive things to say during that time, but that was before the promises were broken.”

She says a Howard West program leader promised to match an offer from Apple, which would pay for her senior year, but she found herself instead with unpaid bills and a sour experience. While she said she enjoyed the program in general, she and other participants often felt that Google’s ambitions for the program took precedent over the needs of participants.

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