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Intel to fund AI labs for community colleges

$400,000 partnership expands on Intel-backed AI associate degree program

A man walks behind a glass sign displaying the Intel logo and the words 'artificial intelligence' above an image of a human brain

Intel has committed $400,000 to build AI labs in 10 community colleges across the US, in partnership with Dell and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

The AI Incubator Network will use Intel's cash funding along with Dell's technical expertise to create a mixture of physical and virtual labs at the schools.

The idea is to encourage more access to AI tech skills and training, explained Intel executives, with participating colleges also being given AI equipment and tools. They will also discuss AI training best practices together and share lessons about student projects.

Each of the ten selected colleges will get $40,000 in funding over a year. Interested colleges have until February 25 to apply.

The initiative builds on Intel's AI for Workforce program, which it launched in 2020 with Maricopa County Community College District. Colleges in the district offered an Intel-designed associate degree program in AI. In August 2021 the initiative expanded to 31 schools across 18 states, backed with 225 hours of training materials for students and training for staff.

The funding for the expanded project comes from Intel's RISE Technology Initiative (IRTI), which funds healthcare and education projects along with others that support social causes.

Concerns over AI capabilities have been mounting, with the National Security Commission warning the US last March that the US is unprepared to defend against adversaries with strong AI capabilities. The White House also launched an AI Initiative Office to execute the National AI Initiative under the National Defense Authorization Act.

In a survey of 246 higher education decision makers conducted by Intel and Dell with EdScoop last year, respondents said that student interest in AI was growing. It was the biggest growth area for students, according to 45% of administrators. Over half predicted that it would account for the greatest increase in demand over the next three years.

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