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  • Writer's pictureCarolina MIlanesi

Intel’s Commitment To Community And Workforce Development

Intel, a giant in the technology and semiconductor industry, has a rich history of deeply engaging with the communities where it operates its facilities. With a presence in Arizona, Oregon, and various global locations, including Ohio, Malaysia, Israel, and beyond, Intel recognizes the vital role of community collaboration in achieving its goals. 

During my summer visit to Intel's facilities in Malaysia, I witnessed firsthand the profound impact of the company's early presence in Penang on the local community. This impact extended beyond job creation, as it also served as a catalyst for attracting other semiconductor brands to the region, thus significantly expanding the job market. Intel recognizes its influence in attracting suppliers to the regions where it operates. As such, the company sets high standards for its suppliers, mirroring its commitment to sustainability and workforce development. This approach creates a ripple effect throughout the supply chain, promoting responsible practices.

Intel firmly believes that a thriving community is integral to its success. The company has witnessed firsthand the positive outcomes of a collaborative approach involving not just the corporation itself, but also the local community and the public sector. This collaboration is the linchpin that contributes to the overall success of Intel, its employees, and the communities it serves.

Intel's dedication to building strong communities aims for long-term economic vibrancy. By fostering collaboration, investing in education, and emphasizing sustainability, the company not only benefits from effective operations but also enriches the regions where it operates.

“Intel understands the importance of cultivating a robust talent pipeline. We recognize the importance of inspiring students early in their educational journey. Through collaborations with educational organizations and initiatives like Khan Academy's Go, we aim to capture young minds' interest in STEM fields and manufacturing careers,” told me Christy Pambianchi,  EVP and Chief People Officer at Intel, during a video interview. 

The company collaborates with local communities, starting from the K-12 educational system up to post-secondary education. These efforts ensure a steady influx of skilled professionals while providing educational opportunities in the regions where Intel operates. As Intel expands its footprint in the U.S. with its new Ohio campus, the company has committed $50 million over the next decade to support higher education programs in partnership with Ohio universities, community colleges and other institutions. 

A recent report by Deloitte underlined how shortages of semiconductor professionals are a real concern: the US faces 70,000-90,000 shortages, Taiwan over 30,000, Japan 35,000, South Korea 30,000, and China already had a 300,000-worker deficit. The European shortage is unquantified but seen as a major obstacle.

In early 2021, the CHIPS Act became law, reflecting a bipartisan effort to revitalize the U.S. tech industry, particularly in the context of semiconductor manufacturing. This legislation emerged against a backdrop of a global semiconductor shortage and perceived competition in advanced technologies like AI between the U.S. and other global powers.

This Act is designed to bolster the U.S. semiconductor industry through subsidies and tax credits. It aims to encourage companies like Intel to invest in building new manufacturing facilities and engage in research and development within the United States. Approximately $52 billion in funding was allocated for these purposes, signifying a substantial investment in the domestic semiconductor industry.

Intel's support for the CHIPS Act aligns with its strategic goals of expanding semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. and maintaining its technological edge. The company has initiated significant investments in several states, including Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, and Ohio, creating thousands of jobs and contributing substantially to local economies. For instance, Intel plans to invest over $20 billion in Ohio to build two new semiconductor factories, marking a major step in establishing a new regional economic cluster for U.S. chipmaking.

However, it's important to note that the CHIPS Act's impact is broader than just financial subsidies. It includes provisions for workforce training, research and development, and security measures related to semiconductor supply chains. 

Various skills are crucial for semiconductor growth, from tradespeople for manufacturing facilities to electrical engineers for chip design. Fabs need engineers, operators, and technicians. Collaboration with educational institutions, including technical schools and community colleges, is essential to address dwindling enrollment in semiconductor programs, which is precisely where Intel is focusing not to simply grow talent but more specifically to grow diverse talent, a key need in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in particular. Acknowledging the importance of creating more opportunities for women in STEM, Intel announced it would be funding a new scholarship program for women in agriculture.

In today's employment landscape, prospective employees increasingly consider a company's values and commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Intel recognizes this shift and actively promotes its dedication to these principles as a competitive advantage. “By aligning with employees' values and encouraging their involvement in shaping responsible business practices, Intel strengthens its appeal as an employer of choice,” explained Pambianchi.

Environmental responsibility is at the core of Intel's operational philosophy. The company places a significant emphasis on sustainability, including initiatives such as renewable energy adoption, zero waste to landfill, and water reclamation. These sustainability efforts have been ongoing for decades and continue to evolve in partnership with local communities. 

But Intel's commitment to communities goes beyond policies and practices; it's a part of the company's culture. Encouraging its employees to actively engage in volunteerism through the Intel Foundation and employee programs, Intel fosters connections that extend beyond the workplace. Through matching programs and donations, these initiatives support local communities, not only improving lives but also fostering camaraderie among coworkers and enhancing employee satisfaction.

Intel's dedication to community engagement, sustainability, and workforce development isn't just about immediate goals. It's a long-term commitment to creating a positive impact in the regions where the company operates. By fostering strong, collaborative partnerships and embracing innovative approaches to education and sustainability, Intel envisions a future where communities flourish, diverse talent thrives, and responsible business practices are the norm.

Disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this column.



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