Intel Expands Efforts to Diversify Workforce

The chip maker is doubling the bonuses for employees who refer minorities and women for Intel jobs, while investing in programs at Georgia Tech.

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Intel last week stepped up its efforts to bring more minorities and women into the tech field and into the company, giving employees greater incentives to find new employees that help the chip maker reach its diversity goals and teaming with a university to expand engineering opportunities for unrepresented parts of the population.

Intel officials are offering double bonuses—up to $4,000—to employees who recommend a woman, minority or veteran for a job at the company, a move designed to help the vendor reach its goal of ensuring that by 2020, the company's workforce fully represents the percentage of women and minorities in the United States.

Intel officials told news outlets that the company has used such incentives for recruitment programs in the past, and now will focus the bonuses to help it in its latest efforts.

"Intel is committed to increase the diversity of our workforce," the officials said in a statement. "We are currently offering our employees an additional incentive to help us attract diverse qualified candidates in a competitive environment for talent."

At the same time, Intel executives announced that the company is partnering with the Georgia Institute of Technology and investing $5 million over five years to create solutions that will encourage women and underrepresented minorities to earn computer science and engineering degrees. Officials with Intel and Georgia Tech expect that the program could result in retaining more than 1,000 of such students and improve access to thousands more.

The money will support and expand ongoing programs at the university, including the Summer Engineering Institute, a three-week program that hosts rising 11th- and 12th-grade students from around the country who will learn basic engineering and computer science techniques. Another program, called RISE (Retaining Inspirational Scholars in Technology and Engineering), is designed to offer financial aid to minority and nontraditional students. Intel's Diversity Scholars program will offer scholarships to students entering majors that align with the chip maker's interest, such as electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science.

Intel also will support the Peer-2-Peer Mentoring program, which offers guidance and support to undergraduate students at Georgia Tech majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In addition, SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering) program is a 10-week program designed to encourage minority students from the United States to attend graduate school for engineering and science.

Another program, Focus, is an effort to encourage underrepresented minority college juniors and seniors in the country to consider graduate education by attending a three-day event.

The goal of the effort with Georgia Tech is to broaden the pool of future tech innovators, according to Rosalind Hudnell, vice president of human resources and chief diversity officer at Intel.

"Filling the tech industry pipeline with diverse students is critical to increasing the number of diverse engineers and computer scientists in the field," Hudnell said in a statement. "The goal of this program is to inspire and support more women and underrepresented minorities to earn technical degrees so we can hire them down the road."