has announced a $4.5 million initiative to expand the tech industry's talent pipeline by investing in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs at historically black colleges and universities.
The Intel HBCU Grant Program will award grants totaling $3.9 million over three years aimed at encouraging students to remain in STEM fields at six HBCUs — , , , , , and . The funding will provide two-year scholarships for students — from juniors to PhD candidates — majoring in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering, as well as opportunities to participate in labs, workshops, and research experiences. The remaining $600,000 will fund workshops and activities designed to bring HBCUs and the technology industry together to ensure students are prepared with the relevant skills to enter the tech workforce.
The program is part of the company's $300 million Diversity in Technology initiative, which was launched in 2015 with the goal of advancing the full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its U.S. workforce by 2020. According to the , African-American college students are more likely to switch out of STEM majors during their first year and represent only 11 percent of bachelor's degrees in STEM fields.