While the Consumer Electronics Show (or CES) has a reputation for announcing hot new products, once and awhile other really important news gets announced too. On January 6th, Intel announced at CES 2015 that they were making a major investment to improve representation of women and under-represented minorities both within their own company and the larger community.
Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, announced the company will spend $300 million on a new “Diversity in Technology” initiative. In addition, Krzanich said that Intel’s workforce will fully represent women and under-represented minorities by 2020 by setting new hiring and retention goals. The money will also go to “build a pipeline of female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists,” and, “to fund programs to support more positive representation within the technology and gaming industries.”
Krzanich is quoted as saying:
We’re calling on our industry to again make the seemingly impossible possible by making a commitment to real change and clarity in our goals…Without a workforce that more closely mirrors the population, we are missing opportunities, including not understanding and designing for our own customers.
Intel plans to partner with a number of other organizations in the industry to support the initiative. The ones announced are International Game Developers Association, the E-Sports League, the National Center for Women in Technology, the CyberSmile Foundation, the Feminist Frequency, and Rainbow PUSH.
This is a bold step. Improving diversity in the computing community is vital to the future of the field and is, simply put, the right course of action (which Krzanich also noted in his remarks at CES). The fact that such a prominent player in the technology industry is taking this action is great news and hopefully it is a sign of a sea-change within the computing industry and community regarding diversity in the workplace.