Tech hurt by 'locking out' diversity: Rev. Jackson

Pushing for Silicon Valley diversity

When top Silicon Valley companies "lock out" diversity, they limit creativity and growth in their businesses, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said on Monday.

"Really, what you have in the valley is a whole market of people who are locked out," Jackson told CNBC's "Squawk Alley."

Rev. Jesse Jackson in 2014.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Jackson has repeatedly promoted diversity in top technology companies as founder of the Rainbow Push Coalition, a non-profit that focuses on social and civil rights. He decried a lack of diversity employment in top companies while stressing the importance of creating "pipelines" for younger minority candidates.

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Jackson noted that the 189 board members in the top 20 Silicon Valley companies included 36 women, three African-Americans and one Latino. Without minorities, at lower and leadership levels, companies "lock out" money, talent and growth, he said.

"Unless there's some plan to keep people in, they just won't get in," Jackson said.

Some technology companies have made strides in pushing for diversity, he said. He praised Intel CEO Brian Krzanich's $300 million commitment, announced last week, to cultivate opportunities for women and underrepresented employees at the company.

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More companies investing in science, technology, engineering and math opportunities for minorities—from high school through college and internship programs—would help reduce the "opportunity deficit," in Silicon Valley, Jackson argued.