Improving Diversity in the STEM Workplace

Corporations have been asking universities for more diversity in graduates in engineering and other STEM fields.   Now in an announcement by Intel, Intel has established a $300 million fund “to be used in the next three years to improve the diversity of the company’s work force, attract more women and minorities to the technology filed and make industry more hospitable to them once they get there.”  (The New York Times, Jan. 6, 2015, “Intel Allocates $300 Million for Workplace Diversity” by Nick Wingfield)

This is significant and welcome news.  For a long time, women and minorities have been underrepresented in the engineering and technology fields.  Overall, the percent of women graduates in computer science is about 13% and in computer engineering about 10%, with 19% of engineering bachelor degrees earned by women graduates. (ASEE Profiles of Engineering & Engineering Technology Colleges, 2013 Edition, p. 12)  According to The New York Times article, without increased participation by women in engineering programs, it is “especially difficult to improve diversity at Intel.”   In 2013, only 4.3% of engineering graduates were African-American and 9.3% were Hispanic. (ASEE Profiles of Engineering &Engineering Technology Colleges, 2013 Edition)  

It will be interesting to follow Intel’s success in increasing workplace diversity and especially, the strategies it uses. 

Cindy Veenstra