Each year, from September 15 to October 15, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. This is a time to recognize and celebrate the remarkable contributions people of Hispanic heritage have made to our country. In STEM fields alone, there are many Hispanic innovators to acknowledge, from Ana Roqué de Duprey, a Puerto Rican botanist and founder of the University of Puerto Rico, to Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go into space and first Hispanic director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, to Intel’s very own Sandra Lopez, Vice President of Intel Capital (ICAP) and Intel Sports Group. The landscape of science and technology today would simply not be the same without them.
Intel has made great strides in our diversity goals. Last month, our CEO Brian Krzanich challenged us to reach our goal of full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in our U.S. workforce by 2018, two years ahead of schedule. As we accelerate this critical work, it is invigorating to see firsthand the next generation of Hispanic technologists in action, as we were lucky to do this summer when ICAP welcomed a diverse group of interns from around the country into its ranks.
One of these interns was Francisco Gomez, a student at Miami University. Originally from Argentina, Francisco took a risk and relocated to Santa Clara for the summer so that he could gain valuable experience working in venture capital. He hit the ground running, working with vice presidents and deal leads starting just two weeks into his internship, as well as getting a glimpse into what his future work as an analyst will look like. Francisco says one of the most striking aspects of his time, though, was ICAP’s commitment to diversity – in both background and skillset.
“ICAP pushed us to be ourselves and didn’t set a mold,” Francisco said. “We were told to be ourselves and show our true colors. That’s not something you get in the office a lot. ICAP is taking the initiative to flip the script.” This is critical to Intel as we push forward and strive toward our corporate values of maintaining an inclusive environment as we believe it makes us a stronger and more innovative company to appreciate and value all perspectives. We are always encouraging employees to bring their full, authentic selves to the office because that’s when they do their best work.
Supporting young people like Francisco and fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce are crucial to our continued innovation and growth as a company. This is particularly relevant here in Silicon Valley – while Hispanics are one of the fastest growing sectors of the population in the Valley, they remain significantly underrepresented in the tech industry. Hispanics currently represent 28% of the total population in Silicon Valley and only 3% are in the high tech workforce, according to the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.
We are committed to going beyond. Our Latinos in Technology Scholarship Initiative, administered through a collaboration with the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, is a five-year, $3.75 million investment to support 125 scholarships for Latino college students who have chosen a STEM major. And we’re seeing progress in our own workforce –our Hispanic hiring and representation are both up since last year, and our exit rate is down.
We’re encouraged by our progress so far and our commitment is steadfast as we work hard to close the representation gap in our workforce with special focus on retention and building an inclusive culture.
As we are doing this year during National Hispanic Heritage Month, we can’t wait to celebrate the next generation of Hispanic leaders and the unique talent, ideas, and innovations they will bring to Intel, to STEM, and to our society in 2018 and the years to follow.