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.”
Intel Expands Efforts to Diversify Workforce
Intel is making an aggressive push to diversify its workforce as well as the industry. In January, the company announced that it will spend $300 million over five years on the effort, and in June, it unveiled the Intel Capital Diversity Fund, through which it will spend $125 million to help startups run by women and minorities.
“It’s time to step up and do more,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show while announcing the $300 million program. “It’s not good enough to say we value diversity, and then have our workforces and our industry not reflect the full ability and talent pool of women and underrepresented minorities.”
According to Intel’s numbers, 24 percent of company employees are female, 8 percent are Latinos and 3.5 percent are black.
Other tech vendors also are making moves to increase the number of women and minority employees. Google this year announced a $150 million workplace diversity initiative, with about half of the money going to outside organizations and the rest to internal programs efforts. Google officials also said the company spent about $115 million in 2014 to promote diversity. In June, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that diversity is “the future of our company,” adding, “The most diverse group will produce the best product. I firmly believe that.”
A recent report by Babson College found that only 15 percent of venture capital-funded companies in the United States have a woman on the executive team, and that companies whose CEO is a woman receive only 3 percent of total capital venture money. In addition, citing industry surveys, Intel officials have said that fewer than 1 percent of the founders of companies in California’s Silicon Valley are African-American or Latino, and nearly all of funded founders are white or Asian.