Intel increases its hiring among women, minorities

Intel's also investing $5 million in an education program in Oakland, California

Intel is becoming a little more diverse, just several months after announcing an ambitious plan to add more women and minority workers to its ranks.

Since January, roughly 17 percent of Intel's senior hires were historically under-represented minorities -- about double the rate last year. Intel also doubled its senior hiring among women to 33 percent, CEO Brian Krzanich said on Wednesday.

More broadly, roughly 41 percent of Intel's hires for the year so far have been "diverse," he said, without specifying further. That's up from about 30 percent a year ago, Krzanich said. He gave the figures during a talk at the Push Tech 2020 Summit in San Francisco, an event focused on diversity issues in the technology industry.

The ramp-up in diverse hiring has occurred throughout the company, including the engineering, human-resources and finance departments. Intel has roughly 106,000 employees.

Krzanich also said Intel would invest US$5 million over the next five years in the Oakland Unified School District in California for an program to teach computer science and engineering. Intel hopes to get students ready for college and prepare them for careers in the technology industry.

The education program also includes an internship component; students who complete it will be guaranteed jobs at Intel, Krzanich said.

Oakland's school district, about 40 miles from Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara, is 65 percent black and Hispanic, he said.

In January, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel pledged to bring more women and under-represented minorities to its workforce by 2020, backed by a $300 million investment that would support new hiring practices and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in high schools.

Intel's plans come as the technology industry grapples with diversity problems and criticism over its sexist culture. Recently, Ellen Pao sued her former employer, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit.

Krzanich delivered his remarks in front of a racially mixed group of hundreds of tech workers from both large companies like Apple and Microsoft and smaller startups and nonprofits.

"We've made a huge amount of progress," he said. "What we want is a workforce that's diverse, and represents the community we're trying to serve with our technology."

Since announcing the plan, Intel has begun to gather new data about its hiring processes, which the company tracks weekly. In addition, the company has begun to tie managers and other employees' pay to Intel's progress toward its diversity goals.

Later this summer, Intel will announce a new effort within its venture capital arm to better support diversity in technology, Krzanich said, without giving further details.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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