Classrooms and Cleanrooms: Intel’s Investments in Education and Innovation

It’s not every day that you get to host the President of the United States at your company.

WRK_6735.JPGWe were very fortunate and honored to have President Obama visit our Hillsboro, Oregon campus today, to meet with our CEO Paul Otellini and discuss the importance of investing in innovation and manufacturing to spur economic growth, get a tour through our D1D factory, and meet with Intel employees (who also got a special surprise today with the announcement of new investments in U.S. manufacturing). Given my role in CSR, I was also very proud that Obama was here to talk about another key factor in the economic growth and competitiveness equation: education.

GirlsRobotics.JPG During his visit, President Obama spoke about the importance of investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. He also had the chance to meet some very impressive science and math students from Oregon, including a high school team from the School of Science and Technology in Beaverton, Ore., and an all-girls middle school robotics team, which competed at the Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League State Championship the past three years. He met with two finalists for the upcoming Intel Science Talent Search, including Laurie Rumker who conducted a biodegradation experiment to study whether a substance used to protect groundwater from contaminants could biodegrade, causing pollutants to be released into the environment, and Yushi Wang who investigated the science behind quantum computing and addressed an obstacle with a binary quantum computing algorithm. If they are doing this type of work in high school, hard to imagine what they will accomplish in the future.

Bunnysuits1.jpgIt’s clear to me why the President wants to promote STEM education – he sees it as critical to the country’s future success in the global economy. But we often get asked, why do companies like Intel invest so much time and resources in improving education? One place to start to answer that is with the very employees who met with the President earlier today. Our employees who work in our factories’ cleanrooms , design our microprocessors, and truly push the limits of innovation through their work – they know the value and importance of quality science, math and engineering education. Why? Because they live it every day.

Volunteereducation.jpgThey can also probably think back to their own science fair project. To their first robotics competition. To that favorite teacher who inspired them to continue studying engineering in college. This perspective drives our company’s investments in education – we know from experience in our day to day operations how critical it is to prepare today’s students for advanced careers in high-tech manufacturing and engineering. In alignment with this, our employees also spend significant time volunteering and mentoring students through their community service activities, volunteering to teach in the classroom or serving as judges in local science fairs. Over the past three years, our employees have given back over 3 million volunteer hours in local communities, with more than half of those in education-related activities.

We also appreciate how STEM education investments can help drive broader economic empowerment and future growth, which is why collaboration with the government and educators is vital. This isn’t the first time we’ve engaged with the President on this topic – in 2010, in conjunction with President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” Campaign, Intel announced a 10-year, $200 million commitment to advance education in math and science in the United States. Intel is also one of four founding companies of Change the Equation, a CEO-led initiative designed to answer the President’s call to move the U.S. to the top in science and math education over the next decade. In the last 10 years alone, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion globally toward improving education, including:

- Providing in-depth professional development for K-12 teachers through the [Intel

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