Last week was a high point for me in my seven years with Intel. We launched the new Intel Education Service Corps, a program that will enable talented Intel employees from all over the world to travel to developing countries to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to support the deployment of Intel-powered classmate PCs for disadvantaged children. It’s sort of like starting the Intel version of the U.S. Peace Corps, with a focus on using our technical and human resources to improve the quality of global education. It has been a dream of mine for about five years now so it really was an occasion to do a little dance outside my gray cube when we launched this program.And things have only gotten more exciting since then. The response from Intel employees has been amazing! We have received over 80 applications for the next 10 spots in the program as well as hundreds of employee emails, all during the first 10 days after we launched. The application deadline is not until end of day tomorrow so that number keeps growing. And what is particularly moving are the notes that come from employees in their emails. Just to highlight a few, they say things like, “In 19 years at Intel, I have never been so excited about a potential opportunity.” Or, “This program is so cool! I’m so proud to work for Intel.” Or one of my other favorites, “Thanks for taking such a bold approach in these turbulent economic times.” I wish I could include them all because some of them seriously brought tears to my eyes – to see all that employee passion for improving the quality of education around the world. I felt more connected to my wonderful Intel colleagues than ever before. The other thing that has amazed me is the wide array of hidden talents brought forth by the call for applications. I never knew that employees across Intel, working in every type of function (engineering, marketing, finance), had such an incredible range of experience around education. We are seeing applications from many people who have done graduate studies in education, who have founded their own schools in developing countries, or who travel on their own each year to teach kids in some other country. Many employees have reached out to see how the program could be extended to one of the NGOs they are engaged with personally in their own charitable work, or with ideas for how we could make the program even bigger and better. I can’t wait to see what these talented Intel employees are going to be able to do when they are deployed on these projects. Which brings to me to my final exciting point. We are sending out the first team of Intel employees next week to work with the NGO Orphans Overseas in two orphanages in Vietnam, setting up classmate PCs and teaching the kids how to use them to connect with the world outside. The team will arrive in Vietnam on September 8th and two of the volunteers, Brad Houser and Sovinti Johnson, will be blogging on this site about their experiences. This team comes out of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group (TMG), and it has been a kick to see how they approach the project so methodically and with such discipline (for those not familiar with Intel, the TMG employees are the ones who keeps our fabs around the world running with such amazing efficiency!). I have learned so much from them already, and I’m really looking forward to reading about the wonderful things they are able to accomplish and the ways in which they are personally changed by the experience. Hope you’ll check back to also hear what they have to say.
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