One hundred and thirty blocks north of Google's headquarters in Chelsea is the tech giant's newest outpost, a lab inside the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem where teenagers from Harlem and the Bronx are studying computer science. The hope is that they will become engineers, developers and tech leaders.
"We see Harlem as the next tech renessaince for black and Latino youth," said Peta-Gay Clarke with the Code Next program at Google.
Like the broader tech world, Google has a diversity problem. Just 2.5 percent of Google's U.S. workforce is black, and 3.6 percent is Hispanic.
Two years ago, the company launched an effort to change that, a program called Code Next, in Oakland, and at Google's office in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.
The goal is to expose black and Hispanic teenagers to the technology and training necessary to work at places like Google.
The lab in Harlem represents an expansion.
It's not just altruistic. Google considers Code Next important for business.
"One of our missions is to make our products and tools universally accessible, so if we don't have diverse voices, diverse experiences at the table, in the room building these products, then we won't be able to reach our goal," Clarke said.
The program is intense. Ninth graders commit to spending every Saturday in the lab, plus summers and some weeknights.
To recruit and help run classes, Google enlisted organizations already doing computer science work in local public schools.
"We recruited from about 20 different middle schools across Harlem and the Bronx, and we did everything from school-based workshops to bringing the students in for interviews and having them complete applications," said Chelsey Roebuck, co-founder and executive director of Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering. "We selected 50 students to participate in a highly selective summer program, and from that, we have a cohort of 23 students.
"I was super excited. My mom was screaming. She was just so happy that I actually got into this program," said Ayan Cooper, a student at Promise Academy Charter School. "So when we started this summer, I made sure that I was listening and learning everything that I could.
Tiana Wilson wants to be a cardiac surgeon, but her middle-school principal recommended she learn coding.
"I had no interest in it at first, but when I started, I started to love it," she said.
Now, she says she is set on being a cardiac surgeon who is also a bioengineer.