Intel Launches First Artificial Intelligence Associate Degree Program

What’s New: Intel is partnering with Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) to launch the first Intel-designed artificial intelligence (AI) associate degree program in the United States. The Arizona Commerce Authority will also provide a workforce grant of $100,000 to support the program. It will enable tens of thousands of students to land careers in high-tech, healthcare, automotive, industrial and aerospace fields.

“We strongly believe AI technology should be shaped by many voices representing different experiences and backgrounds. Community colleges offer the opportunity to expand and diversify AI since they attract a diverse array of students with a variety of backgrounds and expertise. Intel is committed to partnering with educational institutions to expand access to technology skills needed for current and future jobs.”
–Gregory Bryant, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group

Whom It Helps: Based in Tempe, Arizona, MCCCD is the largest community college district in the U.S. with an estimated enrollment of more than 100,000 students across 10 campuses and 10,000 faculty and staff members.

How It Helps: The AI program consists of courses that have been developed by MCCCD’s faculty and Intel leaders based on Intel software and tools such as the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ Toolkit and Intel Python. Intel will also contribute technical advice, faculty training, summer internships and Intel mentors for both students and faculty members. Students will learn fundamental skills such as data collection, AI model training, coding and exploration of AI technology’s societal impact. The program includes a social impact AI project that is developed with guidance from teachers and Intel mentors. Upon completion, MCCCD will offer an associate degree in artificial intelligence that can be transferred to a four-year college.

Why It’s Important: AI technology is rapidly accelerating with new tools, technology and applications requiring workers to learn new skills. Recent studies show the demand for artificial intelligence skills is expected to grow exponentially. A 2020 LinkedIn report notes that AI skills are one of the top five most in-demand hard skills. Research by MCCCD Workforce and Economic Development Office estimates an increase of 22.4 percent for these roles by 2029.

As of early June 2020, more than 43 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Furthermore, a recent McKinsey study estimates that over 57 million jobs are vulnerable, meaning they are subject to furloughs, layoffs or being rendered unproductive. It is critical for educational institutions and corporations to collaborate to prepare for future workforce demands.

About AI Program Launch Details: The program’s first phase will be piloted online at Estrella Mountain Community College and Chandler Gilbert Community College in fall 2020. As physical distancing requirements are lifted and the concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic decrease, classes will begin in-person at both campuses.

More Context: This expands on the Intel® AI for Youth program, which provides AI curriculum and resources to over 100,000 high school and vocational students in nine countries and will continue to scale globally. (Read, “AI for Youth Uses Intel Technology to Solve Real-World Problems.”) Additionally, Intel recently collaborated with Udacity to create the Intel Edge AI for IoT Developers Nanodegree Program aimed at training 1 million developers. Intel has a commitment to expand digital readiness to reach 30 million people in 30,000 institutions in 30 countries. This builds on the company’s recently announced 2030 goals and Global Impact Challenges that reinforce its commitment to making technology fully inclusive and expand digital readiness.

Intel’s corporate responsibility and positive global impact work is embedded in its purpose to create world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every person on Earth. By leveraging its position in the technology ecosystem, Intel can help customers and partners achieve their own aspirations and accelerate progress on key topics across the technology industry.

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