Intel CEO Brian Kraznich stepped down from President Trump’s manufacturing council on Monday in objection to Trump’s response to the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. The following day, the firm released its mid-year diversity report, showing Intel has improved its representation of women and Native Americans in its workforce by 65 percent within two years. Kraznich released a statement emphasizing the importance of “turning this tragedy into action”:
“Over the past two weeks, sharp debate – and, tragically, even violence – over issues of race and gender has reminded us that there is still so much work to do to build a society that abhors prejudice and values love over hate and equal opportunity for all,” Kraznich wrote. “While these events have been painful to see, I ask each of you to join me in turning this tragedy into action, letting it serve as a reminder of how important it is for each of us to treat others with respect and to contribute to a diverse and inclusive workplace every day.”
Krzanich first announced the tech company’s five-year commitment to achieve full representation of women and underrepresented minorities by year 2020 at CES 2015—the global consumer electronics show that takes place every January in Las Vegas. But now Kraznich is pushing for full representation in 2018, two years ahead of schedule. That means by this time next year, Intel’s workforce of 50,000 should reflect the diversity of the U.S. workforce with 40 percent of employees identifying as women and underrepresented minorities, which includes African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans.
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Intel believes diverse and inclusive teams “are more creative and innovative,” Intel states in its report which includes data updated as of August 2017. “Technology companies have talked about diversity for years, but the data show that progress has been slow. In 2015, I challenged our company to step up and do more. It is not enough to say that we value diversity; we must make actual, real progress,” Krzanich said.
Intel achieved a year-over-year increase for Native American representation across early career and senior career levels, as well as a boost in female representation by 0.3% since 2016. The data is charted in Intel’s 2017 Mid-Year Diversity and Inclusion Report.
While the world’s largest computer chip maker has seen stable progress in female, Native American and Hispanic hires and retention, Intel has more work to do to achieve full representation of African Americans in technical roles. African American representation accounts for 60 percent of Intel’s remaining gap, said Barbara Whye, who is African American and vice president of Human Resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Intel.
Krzanich was the third CEO (after Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier) to abandon Trump’s manufacturing council on Monday, CNBC reported, and others followed. Krzanich publicly shared:
I have already made clear my abhorrence at the recent hate-spawned violence in Charlottesville, and earlier today I called on all leaders to condemn the white supremacists and their ilk who marched and committed violence. I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them. We should honor – not attack – those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does.
After numerous CEOs abandoned the think tank, Trump released a statement on Twitter that he is ending the council, CNBC reported. “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump posted on Wednesday, August 16.
Intel Helps Grow STEM Education in Native American Communities
Among Intel’s many initiatives to increase minority representation has been a push to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in Native communities.
Last fall, Intel hosted an event where leaders in academia, government, tribal nations, non-profits, and the tech industry convened to discuss the state of technology in Indian country. Together, they identified gaps and created actionable steps for increasing Native American student participation and retention in STEM studies. They acknowledged that a one-size-fits-all solution does not exist, but devised some overarching recommendations:
Intel’s Recommendations for Boosting Access to STEM
1) Improve Access to the Internet
2) Delineate an Early and Clear Pathway to Success
3) Align Cultural Identity with STEM Necessity
4) Engage Parents and Teachers in STEM Education
5) Ensure Tribal Leadership Involvement
6) Leverage Private Sector Programs and Resources
For an in-depth dive into each one of the below recommendations, check out Intel’s white paper concerning the October thought leadership event. “We need to instill in Native American students the belief that they come from a legacy of strategic thinkers and ancestors who have always been scientists,” Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, is quoted in the report.