Sage and Morehouse partner to prepare students for tech careers

Sage is giving the all-male HBCU $100K to offer a new entrepreneurship course in the fall
A student walks by a Morehouse College sign in Atlanta on April 24, 2024. (Miguel Martinez/AJC)

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

A student walks by a Morehouse College sign in Atlanta on April 24, 2024. (Miguel Martinez/AJC)

Sage, a global finance, human resources and payroll software company, and Morehouse College are expanding their partnership and providing new opportunities in tech to more students.

Sage is giving $100,000 to the Morehouse Center for Broadening Participation in Computing (CBPC) to offer a new entrepreneurship class next semester for students interested in starting their own small business. Students will receive a business mentor, learn about marketing, legal and HR, and get access to Sage software. In addition to Sage’s $100,000 gift, the company is providing scholarship funds for students.

The move comes a year after Sage gave the historically Black men’s college $80,000 to develop new software engineering courses. From that backing, the CBPC taught its first course in generative artificial intelligence this spring.

Atlanta is the North American headquarters for Sage, which is based in England. Sage established its presence in the city in 1999 after acquiring Peachtree Accounting. It has an office in Lawrenceville and will soon occupy two floors of the new mass timber building at Ponce City Market.

While other tech companies roll back diversity and inclusion efforts, Sage is continuing their partnerships because it is “consistent with what we’re trying to do commercially, as well as doing the right thing for the community,” said Steve Hare, CEO of Sage.

“As far as our own workforce is concerned, it’s really, really important to have diversity of thinking, diversity of input,” Hare said. “You look at the benefits, not just to society, but to Sage, I mean, there is a very rich pool of talent that is coming out of institutions like Morehouse.”

Sage CEO Steve Hare poses for a portrait in the lobby at Sage’s North America headquarters, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Lawrenceville, Ga. Sage, a publicly traded accounting, financial, HR, and payroll technology company whose North America headquarters is  in metro Atlanta, announced an expansion of its partnership with Morehouse College. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz /

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Credit: Jason Getz /

Capacity building for Morehouse

Before taking the generative AI class this spring, sophomore Olutade Jegede thought he wanted to go into software engineering once he graduated. But now, he’s not so sure.

“The AI course kind of opened my eyes to a whole new career path with computer science,” Jegede, 20, said.

The 15 students in the class learned about AI ethics, the companies that are big players in the field and how to code their own AI models.

They built chatbots that could debate each other and AI personal assistants, calculators and image processors, according to Bryce Coleman, another sophomore who took the class.

Like Jegede, he was thinking about the paths to take after he graduates from computer science, and the AI course sparked something in him.

“It made me much more interested than I was before,” Coleman, 20, said.

Bryce Coleman, left, and Olutade Jegede, right, took a generative artificial intelligence course taught by the Morehouse College Center for Broadening Participation in Computing in Spring 2024. The curriculum was developed in partnership with Sage. Courtesy

Credit: Contributed

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Credit: Contributed

Sage is hiring four interns from Morehouse this summer, including Jegede, who will be working on AI and machine learning.

What makes the Sage partnership particularly important for Morehouse is not just the funding and opportunities for students, but the training and investment in the Morehouse faculty, according to Kinnis Gosha, executive director of the CBPC.

The AI course was taught by a postdoctoral fellow at the CBPC who worked with Sage engineers to design the curriculum.

“The Sage gift provided the time for that postdoc to learn the materials and now that the postdoc has it, that was capacity building for Morehouse. If [Sage] walked away today, he could still teach that class because now he knows the material,” Gosha said.

Morehouse will be teaching the course again next fall and will expand it to about 50 seats. Any student in the 18 colleges that make up the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education will be able to enroll, Gosha said.

The CBPC has been backed by other large tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon, but Gosha said the Sage partnership is unique because the firm is not just giving money, it is investing in a pipeline of diverse talent

“I think companies coming in with authentic partnership in mind and not just giving a check and taking a bunch of pictures for clout, I think is how things are really going to get fixed,” he said.

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