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Intel Launches $4.5 Million HBCU Grant Program to Keep African American Students in STEM

Intel has committed $4.5 million to six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) over the next three years as part of a new grant program that seeks to keep African American students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pathways in college. Florida A&M University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University and Tuskegee University were selected to participate in the program.

The tech company wants to improve the low representation of African American students in STEM pathways in college — students who are more likely to switch out of STEM majors within the first year of college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). African American students only account for 11 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees, NCES reported.

To help improve retention rates, the newly launched Intel HBCU Grant Program will give $3.9 million to the HBCUs to fund two-year scholarships and additional academic opportunities for African American students in computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering. The remaining $600,000 will go toward supporting Intel-hosted workshops and activities that bring the HBCUs and tech industry together to help prepare students to enter the tech workforce.

“Shaping a more diverse technology industry requires that we rethink our sources of talent and broaden our recruiting pipeline to access available diverse talent,“ wrote Barbara Whye, Intel’s VP of human resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer, in the blog post announcement.

The program is part of the company’s Diversity in Technology initiative. Intel kicked off the $300 million initiative in 2015 with a goal to achieve full representation of women and underrepresented minorities at the company by 2020. Full representation, according to a company statement, essentially means Intel’s workforce in the United States will be more nationally representative of the talent available across the country — from entry-level to senior-level leadership positions at Intel.

Other major tech giants, such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, are also working on becoming more inclusive to change the fact that African Americans make up about 1 percent of technical workers at their companies, as previous diversity reports revealed. Last year, Intel was one of 30-plus companies that signed a White House pledge to increase diversity in tech. Fortune recently reported that more than 80 companies have since joined the pledge and that Intel is one of only 11 companies to deliver on its promise and fully release its diversity data.

More information about Intel’s diversity efforts is available on the initiative site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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