US and Intel Invest in Engineering Education in Vietnam

A couple of years ago Intel Vietnam had recruited just 40 qualified employees out of the 3,000 for its recruitment plan to 2010. The company reported that it lacked qualified engineers, technical team leaders and technicians. This is a common complaint among employers and shouldn’t come as a surprise given Vietnam’s current stage of development and a higher education system struggling to catch up with the economy.

Since Intel can’t afford to wait for Vietnam’s universities to produce graduates prepared to work in an international-standard environment, which they will in due course, and it is a company with considerable resources (Intel reported second-quarter revenue of $10.8 billion, up 34 percent year-over-year), it has followed a logical course: 1) create its own pipeline by helping a select group of Vietnamese universities, future feeder schools, upgrade the quality of instruction and infrastructure; and 2) set up a scholarship program for promising young engineering students who will study in the U.S. and return to Vietnam to work for Intel.

In the first instance five Vietnamese universities, including

were chosen to be part of a three-year program to improve the quality of their engineering programs. The $2.5 million higher engineering education alliance program is being implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Arizona State University (ASU), and Intel, which is contributing $1.5 million to the project. The first group of lecturers traveled to the U.S. this past summer for a six-week summer course in both hard and soft skills with a focus on applied learning, teamwork and student engagement.

As part of the Intel Vietnam Study Abroad Program (program website, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, PSU), Intel is sponsoring third-year engineering students from select universities to complete their Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering at Portland State University (PSU). The program was launched in July 2010 with an intensive academic and living orientation in Portland, Oregon. This month the second cohort of Intel Vietnam Scholars (4.5 minute streaming video) began the first of two years of academic study at PSU. Upon graduation in June 2012, they will return to Vietnam to begin engineering careers with Intel in Ho Chi Minh City.  Here is an update on this year’s Intel Vietnam Scholars from PSU:  New Intel scholars arrive from Vietnam

The 2010 Intel Scholars gather in front of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, their new home for the next year. Photo Courtesy of PSU

Other (much smaller) companies have blazed a similar trail.  Stayed tuned for a post about Enclave, an American-owned IT company in Danang.

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