Intel, Dell and community colleges plan 10 AI labs with $400,000 in grant money
January 27, 2022
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Colleges can apply for the funding to build labs that will teach students artificial intelligence in-person and online.


Image: GettyImages/Maskot

Intel, Dell and the American Association of Community Colleges launched the AI Incubator Network, which will build labs at 10 colleges around the U.S. Colleges can apply for $10,000 each to equip the physical lab and build artificial intelligence training programs. Applications are due Feb. 25

Michelle Johnston Holthaus, executive vice president and general manager at Intel, said in a press release that this specialized program is a starting point for the next generation of U.S. technologists, engineers and inventors.

This latest workforce development project is part of Intel’s AI for Workforce program that launched last year. Brian Gonzalez, executive director of government, partnerships and initiatives at Intel, said the new program makes AI accessible to novice learners. 

“The labs will provide students with more access to AI equipment, tools and resources, allowing them to develop technical skills such as data collection, AI model training, coding, and explore the societal impacts of AI technology,” he said.

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Intel will provide about 225 hours of modular content, including four courses with assignments, quizzes and lab activities. The content covers applied AI domains in statistical data, natural language processing and computer vision skills. The program can be customized to fit the needs of a particular school, such as including industry use cases and practical application projects, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said funding equipment for the AI lab is the primary need at most colleges.

“Beyond that expense, the grant can also be applied to personnel and indirect costs of launching the program,” he said. 

Gonzalez said schools may use a hybrid approach to instruction with an in-person lab with virtual access.

“Each college will determine if an in-person lab fits their students’ needs or if they require a virtual approach to support predominantly online or distance learners,” he said.

Dell will provide technical specs for recommended equipment to outfit an AI Incubator Lab for in-person and virtual learning. Dell also will provide customized technical expertise to colleges wanting to adapt current facilities/labs to run the AI for Workforce program.

The AACC AI Incubator Network will recruit educators at community colleges to join the project. Intel will train community college faculty on the AI content and provide ongoing technical support.

Gonzalez said colleges will have the opportunity to participate in discussions, connect on strategic economic development, strategize on student engagement and share lessons about student projects.

In August 2021, Intel launched the AI Workforce Program at 18 community colleges in the U.S. Students can earn a certificate or an associate degree in AI through this program. Those schools include:

  • Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California
  • Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque
  • College of Southern Nevada in North Las Vegas
  • County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey
  • Maricopa Community College in Maricopa County, Arizona
  • Folsom Lake College in Folsom, California
  • Foothills-DeAnza in Los Altos, California
  • Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Houston Community College
  • Ivy Tech Community College in Lake County, Indiana
  • Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan
  • Lonestar Community College in The Woodlands, Texas
  • Middlesex College in Edison, New Jersey
  • Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
  • Morris County Vocational School in Denville, New Jersey
  • Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey
  • Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California
  • Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon

Intel plans to add 50 additional community and vocational colleges to the program this year.

These workforce investments are part of Intel’s 2030 RISE Strategy and Goals. This corporate responsibility effort is designed to take a “responsible, inclusive and sustainable” approach to global challenges, technology industry initiatives and operational and supply chain goals. The AI project fits in the digital readiness initiative. Intel plans to work with 30 governments and 30,000 organizations around the world to support training to more than 30 million people.

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