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Diversity and Inclusivity: More Important Now Than Ever

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By Dawn Jones, Director of Policy and External Partnerships, Intel

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge global job loss – a loss that has had an outsized effect on women and people of color. Economists say the pandemic will continue to have an uneven economic impact, with all signs indicating that minorities and women will be hardest hit, according to the Harvard Business Review.

In the United States, the Department of Labor reported that in March, 60% of the 700,000 jobs eliminated by COVID-19 were women’s. The overall unemployment rates for black men, Hispanics and Asians were 7%, 6%, and 4.1%, respectively, compared to 4.0% for whites. April showed similar disparities, with the overall unemployment rate climbing 10.3 percentage points to 14.7% overall – 13% for adult men, 15.5% for adult women, 14.2% for whites, 16.7% for blacks, 14.5% for Asians and 18.9% for Hispanics.

dawn-jones-300x200.jpg Dawn Jones, Director of Policy and External Partnerships

These figures are unacceptable. The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the structural inequities that existed prior to the crisis, which became further magnified by recent acts of racism and violence in the United States. There is much more to do to build a diverse and inclusive pipeline of talent, particularly in the technology sector, and now is the time to accelerate inclusion and social equity. Over the next decade, Intel aims to partner with governments and communities to address the digital divide and expand access to technology skills needed for current and future jobs.

We’re excited to share that Intel and Maricopa County Community College District in Arizona are launching the first Intel-designed artificial intelligence (AI) associate degree program in the United States, enabling tens of thousands of students to land careers in high tech, healthcare, automotive, industrial and aerospace fields. Intel specifically chose to partner with community colleges, as they attract a diverse array of students with a variety of backgrounds and expertise. By doing so, we hope to democratize access to these high-skill jobs of the future.

This program is part of our most aggressive inclusion goal that we call 30/30/30. By 2030, Intel plans to partner with 30 governments, 30,000 institutions worldwide and is committed to empower more than 30 million people with AI skills training to prepare a diverse workforce for jobs of the future. For example, Intel successfully partnered with local governments and communities to bring the Intel® AI for Youth program to life, which provides AI curriculum and resources to over 100,000 high school and vocational students in 10 countries and will continue to scale globally.

In addition to the AI for Youth program, the recently released annual Corporate Responsibility Report details the progress we have made over the past 10 years to achieve our diversity and inclusions goals, building on the company’s decades of transparency in corporate responsibility.

Intel has also:

  • Reached full market representation of women and underrepresented minorities in our U.S. workforce in 2018

  • Achieved global gender pay equity across its workforce

  • Supported diverse-owned suppliers around the world through $1 billion in annual spending

  • Helped enable the social and economic empowerment of five million women in Sub-Saharan Africa through the She Will Connect program, via digital literacy skills training, peer networks and job training

In addition to documenting what we have already accomplished, the Corporate Responsibility Report provides a roadmap for the impact we hope to have in the next 10 years to advance diversity and inclusion across our global workforce and industry. That includes doubling the number of women and underrepresented minorities in senior leadership roles. We plan to expand opportunities through technology inclusion and digital readiness initiatives, and to work with other companies to accelerate adoption of inclusive business practices across industries. Specifically, we plan to create and implement a Global Inclusion Index open standard with common metrics to advance progress.

As energetic as we are about meeting our own corporate responsibility goals, we know there is so much more we can accomplish by working together with other industries, communities and governments to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. Over the next 10 years, we look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders in the U.S. government and around the world to drive the changes needed to enable a more diverse, well-trained and inclusive population of workers to enrich the lives of every person on Earth.