Microsoft recruits African Americans and women in Memphis area

WATCH: Microsoft in Memphis recruiting young talent

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tech giant Microsoft met with more than 500 students in downtown Memphis on Thursday. It’s part of an effort to get more African Americans and women to pursue STEM fields.

Mayor Jim Strickland said the city is partnering with Microsoft in hopes of exposing young people all over the city to STEM fields.

The students we spoke with said today’s discussion was worth it.

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Samuel Anderson III is one of nearly 500 students from Shelby County Schools and local colleges who sat in on a discussion with engineers from Microsoft.

“To me, things don’t really happen like this very often here. So just to hear about this and be a part of it is a really good thing for me,” Anderson said.

“We’re trying to expose more people to that great filed of work. It’s a great profession, everyone can achieve. But sometimes you have to hear from others who’ve gone down that journey,” Mayor Strickland said.

Strickland said one reason African American are underrepresented in technology and engineering fields is because they’re not exposed to it.

Students like Anderson said Thursday’s discussion is the reason he’s going to the University of Memphis to pursue a major in cyber security.

“I didn’t really dabble in computers that much, but when I realized that I really liked it, it was like ‘ok, this is something for me.”

Microsoft engineers say it’s important to target students in Memphis to help the company when it comes to diversity.