Following an online pilot in the fall of 2020 with Maricopa County Community College District, Intel is expanding its AI for Workforce Program to include 18 additional schools in 11 states, including California, New Mexico and Michigan. With the expansion, more than 800,000 students can take part in a curriculum designed by the company, at the end of which they can earn a certificate or associate degree in artificial intelligence.
The program includes courses on data collection, computer vision, model training, coding and AI ethics. In addition to designing the curriculum, Intel has provided training and technical advice to the college faculty involved in the program. Dell is also helping with technical and infrastructure expertise.
According to Carlos Contreras, senior director of AI and digital readiness at Intel, the program consists of four parts. In the initial “Awareness” section, a teacher introduces students to some of the “possibilities” and “issues” around AI, with an emphasis on class discussion. The following two parts involve a lot of hands-on learning while students are gradually introduced to the technical skills they need to become proficient in the field. The final part of the program, “Capstone,” sees students asked to create and present projects that use AI to impact society.
For Intel, the company says working with community colleges offers a chance to “democratize AI technology.” Citing data from the American Association of Community Colleges, the company notes they attract people from various backgrounds and walks of life. But as with most programs of this type, it’s also an opportunity for the company to find candidates in a demanding field. It’s no accident then Intel plans to expand the program to include 50 more schools by 2022.