In the last two decades, Intel has been working to close the digital divide and bring greater access to disenfranchised populations, provide greater resources to educators, and honor exemplary student achievement. In these same two decades, I have watched technology continue to transform our lives and impact economies and employability around the globe. I have also witnessed too many young people being left behind as others prospered from the technological advances and opportunities. Today, in spite of our efforts, for which we are proud, nearly 300 million young people around the world are neither in school, employed, and lack the technology skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow. 1
As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, new technologies that we previously only experienced in science fiction movies or in the television show, The Jetsons, are now a reality. Today, we have artificial intelligence that allows machines to sense, reason, and act to solve problems, and we are using unmanned aerial systems (drones) that allow us to tackle issues facing energy, construction, agricultural, and medical industries. There are boundless new opportunities to drive social impact with these emerging technologies. I can imagine a future where Intel drones are used to supply food to densely populated cities across the world after a major crisis, or used to deliver medical supplies in rural communities. As Kofi Annan said, “Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation.” Through our collective action, we can equip them with the capability to do just that – and help ensure the next generation of innovators and workers are ready to embrace, use, and shape technology.
Intel has led the technological innovation that has fueled the industry and given people the ability to connect, and businesses the opportunity to thrive. We also recognize the leadership role we can play in helping address the global skills gap, a gap that is widening as a result of these same technologies. Technology is a force for positive social impact and has the power to be a great equalizer, but only if everyone has access and the training required to fully leverage its advantages. With that in mind, we are redefining what it means to be an innovator by expanding who has access to technology skills and experiences. Our goal is to ensure that the next generation of innovators and technology workers are more diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, geography, and socio-economic status.
We are taking action now.
Our newest social impact initiative, Intel® Innovation Generation, is catalyzing an ecosystem of partners—from governments to NGOs to higher education institutions—to inspire young people and expand access to opportunities that will help them succeed and innovate using the power of technology.
Intel Innovation Generation includes four key programs:
- Make Tomorrow. Inspiring more young people to become innovators, creators and problem solvers by connecting them to technology-focused maker experiences and a global online social community of other youth innovators.
- Future Skills. Collaborating to close critical gaps and transform today’s workforce development and youth empowerment programs through the infusion of technology curricula, hands-on innovation experiences, and employability skills training.
- Higher Education. Working with higher education institutions to integrate technology across academic disciplines to ensure a broader range of students can apply technology to make a difference in their communities and the world.
- She Will Connect. Accelerating closure of gender gaps in technology access and career paths by empowering more girls and women to use technology, connecting them to economic and social opportunities and inspiring them to become future innovators.
We realize that no one program or company can close the gap alone. Through the creation of relevant content, training, and hands-on applications through technology, we endeavor to demonstrate viable solutions that not only inspire and empower young people around the world, but also validate how sustained progress can be achieved. We believe great ideas and solutions can come from anywhere and anyone. We have seen what happens when a woman in Nigeria grows her small business by learning how to use the internet, when a group of young girls in India uncover a new way to use technology to monitor water cleanliness in their community, and when a young man in North Las Vegas, Nevada learns how to fly a drone and is inspired to think about a new career path.
Intel was founded in 1968, at a time when many were not fully at the table of opportunity. Our company has been proud of the work we have done to help others; we now deepen our commitment and encourage others to join us. Follow our journey at Intel.com/innovate
Rosalind L. Hudnell
1World Economic Forum, 2016 (http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs.pdf)