Intel Foundation Invests $1 Million to Train Refugees for Tech Roles

Intel Foundation Invests $1 Million to Train Refugees for Tech Roles

The Intel Foundation has made a $1 million grant to the International Rescue Committee to retrain 1,000 refugees in Germany for jobs in the tech sector through a program called Project CORE (Creating Opportunities for Refugee Employment), Ben Paynter reports at Fast Company:

In general, the training program will have several tracks that allow trainees to first gain the sort of basic skills they may need to gain entry-level jobs, (and immediate income) in data entry, programming, and IT work. Then, many will hopefully move on to advance their education through other services that will be offered. …

Trainees won’t necessarily be limited to just Germany-based jobs either. Having strong computer skills means that refugees who have other commitments at home or need flexible hours can join international companies or the gig economy. Even if no one worked remote, though, there are enough jobs for everyone in Germany. IRC and Intel have studied the country’s economy and, unlike resettlement areas in Jordan, there’s a booming tech sector that’s hungry for new employees.

Germany has taken in more than 1.5 million refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan since 2015. The lack of stable work for these refugees, many of whom are young men, has contributed to high levels of unemployment within the refugee community as well as a relatively high incidence of violent crime. If it proves successful, Project CORE could go a long way toward improving the quality of life for Germany’s refugees and their families, in addition to helping address the talent shortage in the European tech sector.

Intel, which has run similar programs for disadvantaged kids in Las Vegas and India, is not the first company to launch a corporate social responsibility initiative geared toward employing refugees. Last year, American companies like Starbucks and Chobani publicly committed to hiring large numbers of refugees, in a pointed rebuke to President Donald Trump’s desire to curb the number of refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants the US admits.

Other tech companies, including Apple and Facebook, have recently announced major expansions of their digital training initiatives in Europe, with a focus on reaching groups with limited access to technology like as the elderly, the young, and refugees. These efforts are mainly oriented toward community engagement and improving relations with European governments as the tech sector faces increasing regulatory scrutiny from the EU, but they also will help these companies build new talent pipelines to feed their growing need for skilled workers.