I can hardly contain my excitement! For several months now, I’ve been working on a project team, code named #2XInterns. Okay, it wasn’t really code named that…but it sounds so much cooler if I say it was. Well, I just learned today that our intern program recommendations have been approved to move forward! So! Stinkin! Excited! This is going to be the BEST SUMMER EVER at Intel, I can feel it! Let me give you a little of the back story on this first, so hopefully you’ll understand the need for some of these super cool programs, and understand why I’m so giddy about 2012 at Intel.
How many of you are familiar with the work our CEO, Paul Otellini, has done with the jobs council? If I told you that attrition rates in the US for students leaving engineering programs during their undergrad studies were 40-60%, would you believe me? (I didn’t make that up, it’s from the US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics 2009) That’s a lot. Also, if I told you that in the US, our engineering graduation rates have stagnated at 120K annually, would you believe that? (Another great fact c/o NCES 2009) It’s true. When our CEO announced that Intel would help lead the charge in establishing more internships this year, we got to work. As a team, we spent a lot of time discussing the spirit of Paul’s commitment. This wasn’t about creating a bunch of internships for students that KNEW they would one day be an engineer. This was about finding ways to intercept young students, at risk of leaving their engineering program early in their education, and convincing them to stay with the program. Many of us know someone who actually enjoyed (and was good at!) math and science—or even if they didn’t excel in it, they were really interested in it. So off they went to college to get their degree in engineering, but then things started to go awry. Whether it was a next-to-impossible math class or engineering concepts that were going over their head, or just getting bored with book work, the going got tough and well, they changed their minds and explored another degree. In a classroom setting, it’s not always easy to give students enough of the hands on experience that brings the work to life. It can also be tough to connect curriculum to real world applications. Without a little of that ‘wow factor’ to motivate them, students can lose momentum and excitement.
So, with those things in mind, we thought the best way to encourage students to stay on their engineering path was to give them direct access to our engineers, as mentors, along with providing them meaningful HANDS ON (super cool) engineering work. We need to show them the benefits of graduating as engineers and joining a high tech company like Intel that truly touches the lives of people across the planet with technology solutions. A glimpse at what “could be” may be just what they need to keep the focus!
I won’t go into all the details of our new programs….. yet. There is much more to come in this space. Think of this blog post as a teaser. Watch for more details as we approach the Day of Engineering, March 14th! In the mean time, talk to children and students you know about engineering. You have to capture their attention early. The fact that you subscribe to this blog tells me you have a passion for technology. So do I. My 7 year old hears ALL the time about how one day he’s going to be an engineer at Intel – and trust me, this idea is THRILLING to him! He even made an Intel Badge for himself to wear on ‘Career Day’ in his first grade class. <3 it!
So, now that I’ve given you a sneak peak at what is to come, what do YOU think the code name for our project team should be?? Better yet, what ideas do YOU have to keep students interested and engaged in an engineering education?