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Intel expands AI career education program to 18 community colleges

Program will teach data collection, computer vision and AI model training to community college students in 11 states.

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The program aims to prepare community college students for careers tapping AI skills.

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Intel said Tuesday it's expanding a program that aims to educate tomorrow's engineers and technologists on the intricacies of artificial intelligence and help them find jobs in their chosen field.

The AI for Workforce Program offers students courses on data collection, computer vision, AI model training, coding, the societal impacts and ethics of AI technology. Students who complete the program will be awarded a certificate or associate degree in artificial intelligence.

The program began as a collaboration with an Arizona community college but is being expanded to 18 community colleges in 11 states through a partnership with Dell Technologies, which will provide guidance on how best to configure AI labs for teaching in-person, hybrid and online students.

AI, boosted by the new utility of technology called neural networks that are based loosely on the way human brains work, has revolutionized the technology industry. It's used for everything from facial recognition to scouring spam out of email inboxes and autonomous vehicles.

"AI is one of the superpowers fueling innovation, economic growth, job creation and advancements across every aspect of society," Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement.

"The next-generation workforce will need skills and training in AI to develop solutions to the world's greatest challenges, and community colleges play a huge role in unleashing innovative thinking," he said, adding that his interest in technology was sparked at a community college.

As AI expands into fields such as health care, aerospace and manufacturing, demand is also expected to increase. A recent EdScoop survey of 246 educators, administrators and IT decision-makers in higher education found that 73% of educators expect demand to increase for employees with AI-related skills.

"It's clear there is tremendous need for more AI skills in the future workforce, and community colleges attract students with a variety of backgrounds -- making them perfect for helping to better diversify AI," Gregory Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel, said in a statement.

Intel itself has made AI a key part of its plan to reclaim its once-dominant position in chipmaking. While AI is already prominent in phones and in the cloud, Intel believes hardware makers will soon be clamoring for hardware that accelerates artificial intelligence tasks in a personal computer and has already begun producing chips with built-in AI capabilities.

Intel plans to expand the workforce program to 50 more community and vocational colleges by next year.