The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Intel and Dell Technologies announced an 18-month initiative to design and build Artificial Intelligence (AI) Incubators across the country, utilizing the expertise and industry connections of America’s community college system. The announcement follows the joint commitment of AACC, Intel and Dell Technologies to grow Intel’s AI for Workforce program from 18 states to 50 by 2023. The program empowers students with the necessary AI skills for employability in the digital economy.
The AACC AI Incubator Network will bear the demand for higher education AI technical and literacy skills, attract educators and support community colleges with the tools they need to teach AI courses. According to a 2021 EdScoop survey, underwritten by Dell Technologies and Intel, higher education administrators responded that the demand for AI skills training is outpacing their current ability to meet said demand. Fifty-three percent of survey respondents suggested AI would account for the most significant increase in instructional demand over the next three years, and 50 percent said they would like support from a consortium/association of peer institutions.
Since the AI for Workforce program launched in 2020, Intel has expanded it to 31 schools across 18 states. The AACC AI Incubator Network initiative will quickly expand the AI for Workforce program across the entire nation, fostering a national dialogue and bringing coordinated resources to the broader community college system.
“Building upon Intel’s partnership with the AACC and Dell Technologies by establishing incubators for emerging technology education across the U.S. will provide greater access to critically needed technical skills and training in AI,” said Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel. “This specialized program is a starting point for the next generation of U.S. technologists, engineers, and inventors to expand their innovative thinking and go on to land careers in all sectors of the digital economy.”
For colleges that choose to participate, AACC will support the implementation of the AACC AI Incubator Network. By joining the network, colleges will have the opportunity to participate in discussions about learning pathways, connect on strategic economic development opportunities, strategize on student engagement in AI programs, share resources for student AI projects between and among the participating colleges and gather the best practices from the field as identified by AACC, Intel, Dell Technologies and other industry-relevant partners.
The program will support colleges seeking to design and build an AI incubator as a physical laboratory on campus, on a virtual platform or as both in a hybridized model. Participating colleges will be eligible to apply for one of 10 12-month grants of $40,000 to build out their AI labs. The selections will be made based on criteria determined by AACC, Intel and Dell Technologies.
“AI has become an increasingly important focus for community colleges as providers of workforce education for multiple industries,” said Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, AACC’s president and CEO. “Working together with peers and across sectors will enhance the ability of our colleges to advance and scale this curriculum across the nation to ensure that students earn the skills needed to fill these jobs and begin meaningful careers.”
“Dell Technologies has an organizational goal to make a positive impact on 1 billion lives by advancing health, education and economic opportunity. This partnership between AACC, Intel and Dell gives us an opportunity to meet this goal,” said Leslie Harlien, Vice President of State and Local Government and Education Strategy, Dell Technologies. By lending our technical expertise to the AACC AI Incubator Network, we will help community colleges develop virtual and on-campus artificial intelligence in education labs. This will prepare the AI-ready future workforce and provide skills and training that will lead to real-world jobs.”
Dell Technologies will provide technical expertise to the 10 selected schools to configure AI labs for teaching in-person, hybrid, and online students. The labs will provide students with more access to AI computing power, tools and resources, helping foster the skills needed for future jobs. In addition, the curriculum from the AI for Workforce program and taught in the AI labs will support courses on data analytics, computer vision, natural language processing, AI model training, coding, the societal impacts and ethics of AI technology, and more.
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