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By Henrietta J. Burroughs              Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                 Facebook    Twitter         Blog
January 7, 2014                
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Rev. Jesse Jackson in East Palo Alto meeting 
Photo by Henrietta J. Burroughs
Rev. Jesse Jackson is shown at an April 2014
meeting in East Palo Alto   



Photo of Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich
 A screen grab of Brian Krzanich at the 2015
 Computer Electronics Show. See his complete
 keynote presentation here.


When the Rev. Jesse Jackson visited East Palo Alto in April 2014, he gathered support for the Rainbow Push Coalition's efforts to call attention to the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley's high tech companies. Throughout 2014, Jackson and the Rainbow Push Coalition made diversity and inclusion in corporate America a key national issue.

Now Jackson's efforts at spotlighting the lack of corporate diversity and the need for inclusion in high tech workforces led one Silicon Valley CEO to make a major announcement this week. Brian Krzanich, Intel's CEO, announced that Intel is establishing a $300 Million Diversity Investment Fund to achieve the goal of full diversity and inclusion in the company's workforce.

Krzanich made the announcement on Tuesday, January 6, toward the end of the keynote address he presented at the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV.

Krzanich said, "It's time to step up and do more. It's not good enough to say we value diversity....We plan to lead by example and we invite other technology companies to join us."

Intel's $300 million investment is part of the company's Diversity in Technology initiative that presents a "bold new hiring and retention goal that aims to achieve the full representation of women and under-represented minorities by 2020," a representation that will reflect the general U.S. population.

Krzanich said that Intel's diversity hiring goals would be measurable and transparent, would be implemented at all levels in the company, and the company's leaders would be held accountable for the progress made, because their pay would be tied to the company's attainment of its new hiring goals.

Krzanich also explains on Intel's website why the company is making such an extensive commitment to diversify its workforce. There he states:

"We believe that creating a fully diverse and inclusive workplace is fundamental to how we deliver business results. As technology and markets continue to evolve, building and growing a workforce that is fully representative of the customers we serve and communities in which we operate is paramount to our success. 

While we have made progress on our goals over time, we are not content and will continue to take bold actions to grow and develop our diverse talent. That is why I am proud to personally champion this effort....

In the end, we know this is how we will strengthen our legacy of delivering the most innovative and powerful technology in the world." (See more about diversity and inclusion on the Intel website here.).

Jackson, who attended the conference as Intel's invited guest, described the company's new initiative as a major transformational step. He said, "Intel’s 'parity 2020' commitment is a game-changer with the potential to fundamentally transform the diversity and inclusion landscape in the technology industry.”

During 2014, Jackson attended the stockholder meetings of major Silicon Valley tech companies and demanded that they release their "diversity data."

At his meeting in East Palo Alto, he invited community members to join him later that week at the Hewlett Packard stockholders meeting, where he brought up the issue of diversity and inclusion to HP's CEO, Meg Whitman.

According to Rainbow Push, much of the employment data it demanded from companies showed that "many companies have just 1-2% Black and 2-4% Latinos in their tech workforce."

A 2013 Employer Information Report by Intel shows the following ethnic breakdown: 57% of Intel's workforce is white, 29% Asian, 8% Hispanic or Latino, 4% Black or African American, 1% consists of 2 or more races, .5% American Indian or Alaskan Natives and .2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander heritage.

After hearing Intel's new commitment to diversify its workforce, Jackson described Intel as a leader and role model for other high tech companies. Jackson said, "Innovation is more than driverless cars, cloud computing, and the latest “wearable” device. There must also be innovation in the inclusion and diversity space.  Intel is now driving diversity and inclusion in technology, setting a high bar for it and the entire industry to meet.  That’s innovation." 

To contact Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of the above article, send an email to epatoday@epatoday.org.


Other related EPA Today articles and videos:

Increasing Diversity in Corporate America, Talking with Henrietta television show, May 2014. See show excerpt at http://youtu.be/fneYC_CiiuM

A demand for more diversity in corporate boardrooms, East Palo Alto Today, April 2014-May 2014 issue, page 3. See pdf at http://www.epatoday.org/april_may_2014/april_may_2014_issue.html