The News: Intel and Dell are partnering with the American Association of Community Colleges to enhance artificial intelligence (AI) education in community and technical colleges in all 50 states by 2023 as part of Intel’s AI for Workforce program. Read the full press release from American Association of Community Colleges here.
Intel and Dell Partner with American Association of Community Colleges on Furthering AI Education
Analyst Take: News of Intel and Dell partnering with the American Association of Community Colleges to advance AI education in colleges across the U.S. is exciting. This initiative is intended to prepare the workforce of the future and/or upskill and reskill the existing workforce with skills and training that will allow them to thrive in the workplace — and the AI field is most definitely booming.
This is significant as AI skills are some of the most sought-after skills in the booming digital economy, with 97 million new jobs predicted to be created. The jobs most in demand include data scientists and analysts, big data specialists, and AI and ML specialists across all industries and functions. Market research commissioned by IBM and conducted by Morning Consult polled 5,500 businesses worldwide and respondents were required to have some significant insight or input into their firm’s IT decision-making. The research, published in the Global AI Adoption Index 2021, found that while 43% of businesses reported they have accelerated their use of AI in the last year, a lack of knowledge and expertise around AI was identified as the largest barrier to adoption cited by some 39% of business leaders in their study. In short, an organization’s ability to be successful and competitive in the future has a lot to do with recruiting workers with AI expertise and skills.
Dell’s research indicates that AI fluency and knowing how to leverage machine intelligence to manage workflows and accomplish tasks is all part of capabilities that are much needed in today’s workplace. The roles that Dell has identified as being most prevalent in IT departments both today and moving forward include:
Deep Learning Engineer
Machine Learning Specialist/Engineer
Intel’s AI for Workforce Program
Intel’s AI for Workforce Program is part of Intel’s Digital Readiness Program portfolio, which was created as an initiative to help breach the digital divide and prepare current and future workers with the tech skills, mindsets, toolsets, and opportunities they need to responsibly and meaningfully use technology in an AI-fueled world. The AI for Workforce program was launched in the U.S. in 2020 by way of partnerships with community colleges and governments, and to date boasts 31 schools in 8 states as participants.
The technical expertise and resources that Intel and Dell provide as part of the AI for Workforce Program include infrastructure and technical expertise, along with curriculum development. This includes both virtual and on-campus training to some 11 million community and technical college students each year, in on-campus AI education labs as well as the development of curriculum that can help ensure community college programs are efficient, effective and, most importantly, arm graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to step into real-world jobs upon graduation.
What makes this initiative even more exciting to me is the impact this partnership and training will have a direct impact on women and minorities. The AACC reports that some 57% of community college students are women, with 27% identifying as Hispanic, 13% Black, and 6T as Asian/Pacific Islander. This partnership will focus on supporting under-resourced communities and Tribal colleges, and 17 of the schools participating in the AI for Workforce Program thus far are classified by the U.S. Department of Education as Minority Serving Institutions.
Dell’s involvement in this partnership is significant and is focused on helping schools configure AI labs to teach face-to-face, hybrid, and online students. Intel is providing training and professional development for community college professors to certify them as Intel AI trainers and together.
Human-Machine Partnerships is Not Only the Future of the Workplace, It’s the Now of the Workplace
AI technology is quickly becoming a foundational part of the workplace — both today and in the future. While automation and artificial intelligence capabilities will undoubtedly replace some jobs, the path forward is truly all about understanding how to leverage technology working alongside humans or thinking of it in terms of human-machine partnerships. That’s what makes this partnership between Intel and Dell and the American Association of Community Colleges good news. The workplace is rapidly evolving, and training and education must evolve right along with it. Seeing major Big Tech players like Intel and Dell continually evolve and embrace technical and vocational education and commit significant resources to enhance skillsets and employability benefits everyone — and I’m excited to see this program continue to evolve.
I can’t mention human-machine partnerships without a mention of Human/Machine: The Future of our Partnership with Machines written by my colleagues here at Futurum, Daniel Newman and Olivier Blanchard and published in July of 2019. As they said back then, the winners in the future of work are the organizations that understand the role technology can and will play moving forward and who harness the power of machines to their advantage. Automation and AI will augment our human world and our potential and Intel and Dell are playing an important role here — in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges — in helping teach, upskill, and reskill a significant portion of the workforce.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.