Intel CEO Launches a $300 Million Initiative as He Declares War on Lack of Diversity in Silicon Valley

Intel CEO sets aside $300 Million for diversity efforts

As the entire tech industry faces off with a serious diversity problem, Intel is stepping forward with a $300 million initiative and a plan that it says will make its company diverse from the ground up by 2020.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made the announcement during his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 on Tuesday night and stated that just talking about diversity isn’t enough anymore.

It wasn’t long ago that tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Google revealed a stunning lack of diversity in their workforces when they published their diversity reports.

The reports revealed that the companies had less than 2 percent of Black employees and barely had any in some sort of leadership position.

The reports sparked a national dialogue about diversity in STEM careers, but many criticized the companies for not doing enough to actually boost diversity within their own company walls.

Intel is hoping to put an end to those accusations.

“It’s not enough to say we value diversity,” Krzanich said. “It’s time for us to step up and do more.”

Krzanich revealed that Intel would be setting aside a whopping $300 million specifically for the purpose of improving diversity, not only at Intel, but in Silicon Valley as a whole.

The Diversity Initiative Fund would be using the money for a variety of different projects and programs that hope to boost the overall interest that Black people and women have in the technology field.

“It’s $300 million from Intel that we’re going to commit and it’s going to go to everything from investing in minority- and women-owned companies that can help promote technology, women and minority gaming developers, universities that are going to drive more women and minorities into technology and lastly, just actually, developing up front more cash to support new initiatives, new companies, new startups that are owned and run by women and minorities,” Krzanich told Mashable after his speech.

Of course, some tech lovers were skeptical about how exactly the company planned to bring about change in the tech field.

Even with a staggering amount of money, one user sent a tweet to the company saying it’s impossible to “purchase diversity.”

While that may be true, Krzanich believes he and his team will be able to allocate those funds in a way that would promote and create diversity, especially within Intel.

He explained that the company’s plan is to have full representation in all levels of its workforce by the year 2020 and to regularly measure and report on the progress being made toward this goal.

The exact method that should be used to get to that goal remains unclear, but just having a goal in place is what Krzanich believes will set the company up to be successful in such an important endeavor.

“I’m an engineer and I believe that you only solve problems by setting aggressive goals,” he told Mashable. “So as we sat and thought about it, how are we really going to solve this problem? We decided to set a goal. We don’t know how to get there, but we’ve set a goal, made a commitment and now, as engineers, we have to go solve all the problems.”


Want to Be an App Developer? This Milwaukee High School Preps Next Generation

One Milwaukee high school is ready to foster the next generation of tech entrepreneurs and skilled developers thanks to a unique, rigorous new program that will be available to 10 schools nationwide.

The Washington High School of Information Technology will be one of the few lucky schools that will offer the new mobile app development and entrepreneurship curriculum, the Milwaukee Community Journal (MCJ) reported.

Students at the school will be teaming up with major technology firm Lenovo and the nonprofit education group National Academy Foundation (NAF) to participate in the program of a lifetime.

This won’t be any average course either.

While tech students at other schools will be flipping through textbooks or penning essays, these students will be working on developing their very own mobile app.

According to the MCJ, students will also be working alongside the Massachusetts Institute of Technology “App Inventor” developers and will create a business plan for bringing their app to the market.

It’s the kind of program that has the potential to make every single student the face of true innovation in the technology industry.

“We’re honored to be one of 10 schools in the nation to be able to provide our students with this exciting, hands-on opportunity to broaden their knowledge of information technology and strengthen their preparation for college and careers,” Washington Principal Tonya Adair told the paper. “This is another important piece in the strong information technology programming our students can access.”

The school has already been adamant about allowing its students to garner real world experience that will help them make an easy transition into the science, technology, engineering or math career of their choice.

The school partners with local businesses that in turn offer job shadowing opportunities to students.

Then there is also the twice-annual Information Technology and Engineering Career Fair that allows students to network with each other as well as the figures behind major companies in the technology and engineering field.

Local firms such as Direct Supply and Northwestern Mutual have already offered internships to many of the students and helped prep them for their college years and future career goals.

With the school having a predominantly Black student body, the revolutionary program will be yet another step at closing the diversity gap in Silicon Valley.

Time after time, tech experts have mentioned education and access to major tech companies as reasons Black children are at a major disadvantage when it comes to getting jobs in the technology space.

For these students, however, that certainly won’t be an issue.

“Our collaboration with companies like Lenovo supports our goal of graduating more students college and career ready, particularly in growing STEM industries,” NAF President JD Hoye told the MCJ. “The Lenovo Scholar Network is a prime example of how businesses and education can work together to provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s fast-paced world.”