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Intel, Maricopa Community College District launch first-of-its-kind AI lab

Arnav Bawa, a student in the artificial intelligence program at Chandler Gilbert Community College, has developed an AI application to interpret EEG brain wave scans. The application can help predict brain seizures, so a patient can take medication or prevent injury from falling. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

InBusiness PHX

Intel and Arizona’s Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) today announced a new artificial intelligence (AI) incubator lab for students aspiring to land jobs in areas ranging from business to nursing to healthcare — and other professions that increasingly draw on AI technology. The new AI incubator lab in Arizona, and the associate degree program it supports, is the first of its kind in the U.S.

“We are committed to the re-skilling of the American workforce and to advancing diversity and inclusion to ensure that the next generation of technologists are prepared and provided opportunities for AI education,” says Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group.

The AI incubator lab builds on Intel’s AI for Workforce program launched in 2020 at schools across the U.S., with the Maricopa district being the first to enroll students.

The new lab at Chandler Gilbert Community College opens its doors with $60,000 worth of Intel-based leading platforms including workstations and open-source Intel AI software tools. It will support courses that include Introduction to Machine Learning, AI for Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing and AI for Business. The incubator lab is now open to the 200 Chandler Gilbert Community College students currently enrolled in that program.

“Within the last two years, we have been able to see our students gain new AI skills, and we are proud to have our first graduating class from the AI program this spring,” said MCCCD Chancellor Steven Gonzales. “This lab is critical to providing the necessary tools for their education, and we are appreciative of Intel, Dell and the State of Arizona for the designated space so our faculty and students can thrive.”

Johnston Holthaus said, “Our goal is to make this program available in all 50 states by 2023. We are grateful for our partners, including Maricopa County Community College District, Dell and the State of Arizona for joining with us to help increase digital readiness of our future workforces.”

Intel wants to help the U.S. workforce learn new skills, to advance diversity and inclusion, and to help democratize emerging technologies like AI. Additionally, key elements of Intel’s corporate responsibility RISE goals include increasing the number of people working in technology from underrepresented and underserved communities, and more broadly, expanding digital readiness worldwide to reach 30 million people in 30,000 institutions in 30 countries by the year 2030.

The existing program and new lab emphasize hands-on work to make AI accessible to novice learners. Students develop traditional skills such as data collection, AI model training, coding and exploring the societal impact of AI technology. Coursework includes the creation of a social impact AI project that is developed with guidance from teachers and mentors.

The AI for Workforce program at Chandler Gilbert Community College currently has 200 students. A total of 13,000 students attend the community college. All are eligible to apply for the AI for Workforce program.


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