By Tina Reed

Washington Business Journal, June 7, 2017 —

The facility design for the Howard West mini-campus incorporated elements from Howard, including the school’s color palette, logos and mascot, as well as historic photos. (James Florio, Kurani US)

Howard’s new West coast Outpost is open for business.

In March, Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced plans to create Howard West, a campus of sorts for the D.C.-based historically black college to address diversity in the tech industry.

Last week, the campus officially opened at Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters with about 25 rising Howard juniors and seniors majoring in computer science. That first 12-week program will be taught by senior Google engineers and Howard faculty.

A classroom at Howard West which opened last week at Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California. “We’ve also designed for them a student center — with grassy quad, library, media and game room, gym, and even faculty offices — so that they don’t miss out on the college experience and also feel they have a place of their own here in Mountain View,” said Danish Kurani, the architect on the project. (James Florio, Kurani US)

The central goal of Howard West, officials said, is to bolster the hiring of African-American software engineers, helping remedy the lack of racial diversity at the tech giant and other companies in Silicon Valley.

Students arrived at Howard West May 30 to find a facility featuring a number of academic and social spaces where they could interact with Google employees and ultimately work on projects with Google engineers. The Google program launched June 5. (James Florio, Kurani US)

Google and other tech companies have struggled for years to promote diversity in their ranks, especially when it comes black representation, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Just 1 percent of Google’s workforce is black, according to its most recent diversity report. Overall, only 2 percent of the tech industry is black.

The Howard West student center was designed to feel like a college campus. “The newly designed campus merges collegiate, academic, and professional life for a unique Howard-Google experience,” the New York-based architecture firm Kurani said in a statement about the space. (James Florio, Kurani US)

Within five years, Howard officials said they expect 740 students will have completed the program.