By Gautham Nagesh - 09/22/11 03:49 PM EDT
Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) will host a panel discussion on Friday aimed at increasing the number of African-Americans active in the technology industry as part of the Congressional Black Caucus's annual leadership conference.
“Despite that fact, African-Americans are currently underrepresented within this space. I am excited to be joined by such a distinguished group of panelists committed to increasing African-American participation and opening up a whole new area of job growth and wealth creation for our communities," said Jackson Lee in a statement.
“Through the economic downturn, the technology sector has continued to attract investment capital and create jobs."
At 16.7 percent, the unemployment rate for African-Americans has remained significantly above the national average, and experts believe it could be much higher due to the number of black workers who have stopped trying to find a job. Blacks and Latinos also lag behind Asian-Americans and whites in the tech sector.
Among those scheduled to appear on the panel are AOL founder Scott Case, Andreessen Horowitz general partner Ben Horowitz, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who also co-founded ProFlowers.com, Foursquare's Tristan Walker and Yahoo senior director Regina Wallace-Jones.