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Intel employee teaches tech skills to help disabled students join workforce

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Meet Ankit Navik, the 2022 Global Intel Involved Hero of the Year. 

When the workweek ends, many disconnect. Not Ankit Navik.  

For the Intel India employee, weekends are often spent with 30 of his Intel co-workers. They trade their Bengaluru-based home offices for classrooms, where they teach students with disabilities the skills to gain employment in the technology industry. 

Navik, a platform architect in CCG, is Intel’s Global Intel Involved Hero of the Year.  

This prestigious award recognizes an Intel volunteer who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to their community. Navik will officially accept the award during the next Legends and Luminaries event. And he will receive a $10,000 grant to a charitable organization or school of his choice. 

Two passions collide 

Navik joined Intel as an intern in 2014 after a brief stint teaching at the Govt. Polytechnic College in Surat. Soon after joining Intel, Navik began volunteering with Intel Involved Bengaluru. That’s where he realized his passion for teaching could fuse with his engineering role. Navik said his new-hire mentor at Intel was a volunteer who taught mobile repair and services skills at a nongovernmental organization (NGO).  

“I thought, okay, let me start teaching them and see how it goes,” Navik said.


What started as visits to local schools, teaching basic STEM skills using LEGOs and science experiments, continued to expand.  

“Why not teach students the technical skills that can help them find jobs?” the volunteers wondered.  

Navik investigated what jobs were in high demand locally, and what skillsets the students would need to get those positions. Laptop and PC repair technicians were needed, but training was required. That’s when it clicked for Navik and a few of his co-workers.  

“We thought, ‘Okay, this is something where we can actually help with.’ We can train them. We have already seen their work and we know what they’re capable of when they work as a team,” Navik said. 

More help would be needed. Navik sought new volunteers through the Intel India newsletter. Soon enough, more than 30 employees had raised their hands to lend their Saturdays to the effort.  

Many of the students they work with are deaf and not able to speak, relying on sign language to communicate. “[These students] often struggle with lack of confidence because they feel different – they feel like they are in silos,” Navik said. Having students work together within the job placements helped them tremendously, he said. When paired up, they feel more confident and are, ultimately, more successful.  

To date, volunteers have taught more than 200 students the necessary skills to enter the workforce.  

With the Intel Involved grant, Navik hopes that the Association of People with Disabilities – an NGO that the volunteers work with – will have the ability to purchase lab equipment to expand their reach and teach more students.  

Navik adds that the focus of the volunteer effort is to make it sustainable. “Let’s say tomorrow Intel volunteers are not able to show up; then the NGO can’t run the program,” said Navik. “As part of our project, we train the teachers so there’s no dependency on us.” He explains that this could also allow the volunteers to replicate the program with other NGOs over time. 

Persevering through a pandemic 

When the pandemic hit, extracurricular activities in India’s schools came to a screeching halt. Getting the most basic education was difficult, as many students live in remote areas without access to the internet or adequate technology. With their in-person workshops on hold, the volunteers pivoted and worked virtually with several NGOs, teaching groups how to use Microsoft Office.  

With COVID restrictions easing, Navik said the team will resume in-person volunteering. 


For three years in a row (2017-2019), Navik and his fellow volunteers won the Intel Involved Social Initiative Contest grant through Intel Involved India. Now, four years later, Navik is the Global Intel Involved Hero of the Year.  

One of Navik’s peers, Arote Siddhesh, says, “Ankit is a leader … He encourages volunteers to give their best all of the time. I follow Ankit’s work ethic and try to learn my leadership skills from him.”  

When asked how he feels about receiving the award, Navik is quick to point out that this is a group effort.  

“Though this award is generally given to one person, this is not a one-person effort – it’s teamwork,” Navik said. “Without all of the volunteer support, I wouldn’t be able to achieve what we’ve done.” 

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