Microsoft President Brad Smith said the company will “launch some new steps in the next week” to address racial diversity in the technology sector workforce, while calling the industry’s steps to address the issue thus far “not nearly enough.”

“We’re determined to make real progress,” said Smith, speaking during an online event June 18 hosted by Politico. Smith would not divulge his company’s specific plans in advance of the launch, but he said Microsoft is looking to use its purchasing power to create more opportunities for people of color.

Within the tech sector, nine percent of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce is African American and four percent of cybersecurity workforce is Hispanic, according to research cited at a hearing last year by Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee. Both Rep. Richmond and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the subcommittee’s ranking member, expressed support at that hearing for the National Science Foundation’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program.

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Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.