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Intel Vows to Boost Diversity by 2020

A new $300 million initiative aims to increase diversity in the tech and gaming industries.

A new initiative by Intel aims to boost the representation of women and minorities within the company, CEO Brian Krzanich announced Tuesday in Las Vegas.
By Tom Risen Jan. 7, 2015 | 10:36 a.m. EST + More

Tech companies like Google and Facebook have pledged to boost the insufficient representation of women and minorities at their businesses, but Intel is going further than any other Silicon Valley firm by pledging $300 million to curb its diversity deficiency by 2020.

The effort is part of the new Diversity in Technology initiative announced Tuesday by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich during his keynote at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The initiative will set new hiring and employee retention goals at the company in an effort to better represent women and minorities in its U.S. workforce – including in senior leadership positions, Krzanich said. The initiative also will fund programs that support computer science education and broader representation of women and minorities in the tech and gaming industries.

"This isn't just good business – this is the right thing to do," Krzanich said.
The tech and gaming industries have been criticized in recent years for having a sexist “brogrammer” culture that not only features a lack of diversity in company workforces but also in the products those companies sell, such as video games that lack quality female characters.

Increasing diversity in the gaming industry is becoming particularly important as women are now a key gaming audience, making up 48 percent of average video game players in the U.S., up from 40 percent in 2010, according to a recent survey from the Entertainment Software Association.

"Without a workforce that more closely mirrors the population, we are missing opportunities, including not understanding and designing for our own customers," Krzanich said.

Intel plans to boost diversity in Silicon Valley by partnering with groups including the International Game Developers Association, Feminist Frequency, the National Center for Women & Information Technology and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who founded the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, applauded the initiative and said in a press statement that he was invited by Intel to sit in the front row of the convention room where Krzanich spoke on Tuesday. Jackson has been pressuring Silicon Valley companies to boost diversity in recent months, and met with Krzanich in December.

“Intel’s ‘parity 2020’ commitment is a game-changer with the potential to fundamentally transform the diversity and inclusion landscape in the technology industry,” Jackson said.

Minorities like Latinos and African-Americans are projected to make up the majority of the U.S. population by 2040, with African-American buying power projected to be $1.1 trillion by this year and Latino buying power to be $1.5 trillion, the statement from Jackson's coalition said.

"Participating fully and equitably in this world-changing, innovative tech economy is the civil rights imperative of this generation," Jackson said.

The national labor force in 2013 was 79 percent white, 12 percent African-American and 6 percent Asian, with American Indians and Alaska Natives representing 1 percent of the workforce, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report published in August.

 



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