El Paso Community College (EPCC) has recently been announced as a participant in the latest expansion of its Intel AI for Workforce Program designed to help educate the next generation of U.S. technologists, engineers and inventors and to help them land careers in their chosen fields, ranging from healthcare to nursing to business.
To support the expansion of the program across the U.S., Intel is collaborating with Dell Technologies to provide technical and infrastructure expertise. Students who complete the program, which now includes EPCC, will receive enhanced training and curriculum in artificial intelligence (AI).
This program is beneficial particularly to community colleges and their students since they are vital to training the workforce, have strong partnerships with local and regional employers. “AI is one of the superpowers fueling innovation, economic growth, job creation and advancements across every aspect of society. The next-generation workforce will need skills and training in AI to develop solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, and community colleges play a huge role in unleashing innovative thinking. Community college is where I developed my passion for technology and kicked off the career journey that eventually led to my dream job as the CEO of Intel,” Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said.
“Like community colleges across the country, EPCC is going to play a significant role in helping students upskill and reskill for the jobs of the future,” Dr. Myshie Pagel, Dean of Career and Technical Education at the Valle Verde Campus, said. “This Intel AI for Workforce Program will enable EPCC students to prepare for careers in the rapidly-growing fields of high-tech, healthcare, automotive, industrial, and aerospace.”
The AI for Workforce Program will provide students and faculty access to industry-oriented materials that will expand the college’s ability to launch new programs such as associate degrees or certificates of completion in Data Science/Artificial Intelligence. Data Science & Analytics is an extension of Computer Science that covers a broad spectrum of emerging computing areas, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Software Development. Knowledge and training in these areas will be essential computing tasks for the next decade.
According to EPCC Computer Science Professor, Dr. Christian Servin, “This opportunity will allow EPCC to recognize tools, curriculum, and approaches to solving existing challenges our region is encountering.” This program will support a variety of students in engineering, business, and computer science-related fields. Students of other disciplines may also find great value in participating, including the business and entrepreneurial fields, behavioral, and psychological sciences, manufacturing, automotive, and other careers, and technical education programs.
According to Intel, community colleges like EPCC offer the opportunity to democratize AI technology since they attract a diverse array of students with various backgrounds and expertise. The expansion of the program will provide access and opportunities to a broad group of students in these fields, including those in underrepresented and underserved communities and offer the technological skills needed for the job market.
Students will learn traditional skills, such as data collection, AI model training, and coding, and will explore the societal impact of AI technology. Additionally, students will develop a social impact of AI project, working closely with teachers and Intel mentors.
Initiatives like the AI for Workforce Program are critical as the country faces record unemployment rates, it is more important than ever to reskill Americans for future employment opportunities. In a 2021 co-branded Dell and Intel survey, AI and machine learning were the areas of study most anticipated to increase in demand over the next three years.
According to the same survey, AI skills were assessed as the second most in-demand skill behind cybersecurity. Additionally, 50% of community college educators anticipate AI and machine learning (AI/ML) as the area of study most expected to increase in demand over the next three years. At four-year institutions, 64% of educators anticipate the largest increase of interest will be in AI/ML studies, followed by cybersecurity.
Furthermore, 69% of respondents sensed employer demand for AI technical skills increasing, with 73% expecting AI literacy skills to become higher in-demand by employers. “Intel is a strong partner who will help us establish innovative curriculum for our students,” Servin said. “Working with them on this program will help EPCC students develop in-demand technical skills, an entrepreneurial mindset that will prepare them for future career success.”