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Intel Expands AI for Workforce Program to Tap into America’s Best Kept Secret – Community Colleges

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By Brian Gonzalez, Executive Director of Government Partnerships and Initiatives, Intel  

Just last week, Intel's CEO Pat Gelsinger joined President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to announce Intel's plans to invest more than $20 billion in the construction of two new leading-edge chip factories in Ohio. Now, this week, Intel announced plans to expand its AI for Workforce program by partnering with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Dell Technologies to launch the AI Incubator Network, an innovative 18-month initiative to design and build AI labs across the country by utilizing the expertise and industry connections of America’s community college system. 

Both these investments will bolster not only the U.S. workforce, but also its specialization and competitive edge within the artificial intelligence, machine learning and STEM fields. With the expectation of Intel’s new manufacturing plant in Ohio adding over 3,000 jobs to the local economy and 3,000 additional high-tech jobs in Arizona, the demand for a well-trained workforce with AI skills will only continue to increase in the coming years.  

The AI Incubator Network grows Intel’s AI for Workforce Program, which already supports the demand for higher education AI technical and literacy skills while equipping educators at community colleges with the tools to teach AI courses. By joining the AI Incubator Network, colleges will have the opportunity to join in discussions with participating schools, strategize on student engagement into AI programming, share lessons about student projects, and gather best practices from the field of AI. 

According to data from the AACC, 57% of community college students are women – 27% identify as Hispanic, 13% as Black and 6% as Asian/Pacific Islander. By sharing opportunity to join the AI Incubator Network, the program aims to reach underserved communities in need of increased access to specialized training and career development resources.  

At Intel, we believe AI technology should be shaped by people offering diverse voices and experiences, and community colleges are, as President Biden himself said so distinctly last week, one of the best kept secrets in the U.S. for bolstering minority and underrepresented communities. These schools attract students with the richest variety of backgrounds and expertise and offer us the chance to democratize AI technology. 

Congress has also proven they view community colleges in the same light. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) aims to empower local communities, universities, community colleges, private companies, and more in more partnerships like the AI Incubator Network. The newly-released House bill, America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521), further calls for expanding collaborations with and improving community college workforce development programs, specifically for historically black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, and diverse communities, specifically as it relates to artificial intelligence and machine learning programs.  

As a community college graduate, our CEO Pat Gelsinger understands the role community colleges play in unleashing innovative thinking. Supporting underrepresented communities is key to Intel’s commitment to expanding digital readiness worldwide, and we’re devoted to making technology fully inclusive through initiatives like the Intel® AI for Workforce program and partnering with AACC and Dell to launch the AI Incubator Network, by bringing AI education to all 50 states by 2023. This aggressive expansion of the program is a key aspect of Intel’s 2030 goals and Global Impact Challenges, reinforcing our commitment to partnering with governments in 30 countries and 30 thousand institutions worldwide, and empowering more than 30 million people with AI skills to make technology fully inclusive.  

We’re excited to launch the AI Incubator Network partnership with AACC and Dell and offer AI Incubator Network community college participants the opportunity to apply for one of ten 12-month grants of $40,000 to build out their AI labs, totaling $400K. The AI labs will provide students with more access to AI tools and resources, equipping the future workforce with the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, and serves as a steppingstone to help community colleges educate the AI workforce of the future. Intel looks forward to working with governments to help support a workforce to innovate and create positive global impacts.