Google may have begun last year's ongoing public conversation about the technology industry's lack of diversity by finally being transparent about its workforce demographics, but Intel (which has regularly released such reports for years already) will become the first tech company to do something about it.

Among the lavish displays of exciting new gadgets, the expensive smart cars of tomorrow, and announcement after announcement of new technological initiatives, and product release dates this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich took the stage to deliver his company's keynote speech Tuesday night.

Yes, there were the usual (corny) demonstrations of new products and hype about how awesomely capable the next wave of computing will be. But perhaps the most important announcement for the industry came at the end of Krzanich's presentation.

The BIG Announcement 

"There's one more dimension I want to talk about tonight. One word that I can think of that can change this industry for the better. That word is 'inclusion'.... This year there's another important industry-wide issue that will shape the future: the importance of diversity and inclusion in technology."

Citing the previous year -- when hostility towards women in gaming became a big issue and a cavalcade of workplace demographic transparency reports released by big Silicon Valley companies showed that the vast majority of technical and leadership roles in the technology industry were filled by white and Asian men -- Krzanich announced, "It's time to step up and do more. It's not good enough to say we value diversity."

Intel pledged to do much more than pay lip service to concept of diversity. The company has committed to having a workforce that is more representative of the populace, increasing the number of women, blacks and Hispanics working at the company, within five years.

The company also committed $300 million to a fund for scholarships, college funding, and other initiatives to boost education and training in technology-related fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM) for underrepresented groups over the next three years.

Krzanich wants Intel's workforce to "reach full representation at all levels" compared to the available pool of qualified technology workers by 2020. That doesn't mean representative levels compared to the general population, but it does entail increasing the population of Intel workers who are women, black, Latino, and from other underrepresented groups by at least 14 percent, according to The New York Times.

Fostering Diversity Outside Intel's Halls

But the company also wants to help improve diversity throughout Silicon Valley, where across the industry, women are significantly less represented, especially in technical and leadership roles, and where Latinos, blacks, and other non-Asian minorities routinely make up single-digit percentages of the workforce.

Part of the broader initiative involves investing in initiatives to bring more women into the gaming industry, which might be seen as a further mea culpa for Intel's shortsighted withdrawal of advertising from news site Gamasutra in 2014 in an attempt seemingly to avoid becoming entangled with a Gamergate.

But another part of that involves the $300 million pledge, which, among other things, will help an underlying problem for diversity in the technology industry: namely, that there is a shortage of trained women and minorities to hire for tech jobs compared to white and Asian men.

Intel Applauded by Jackson and RainbowPUSH Coalition

One of the prime movers in the diversity in tech discussion of 2014, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. -- leader of the RainbowPUSH coalition, which has persistently called for transparency and change in Silicon Valley -- responded to Intel's announcement with palpable joy, in a statement released to Latin Post.

Invited as a front row guest for Krzanich's keynote speech, Jackson stated:

RainbowPUSH argues that companies must set measurable diversity and inclusion goals, targets and timetables. Intel has done just that, and more. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is demonstrating visionary leadership by committing the company to a bold new hiring and retention goal to mirror the face of America in its U.S. workforce by achieving full representation of women and under-represented minorities at Intel by 2020.

He went on to call Intel's pledge a "game-changer" that could potentially fundamentally transform the rest of Silicon Valley by taking the diversity issue "to a qualitatively higher level."

"Today, Intel has defined unequivocally and measurably what it means to 'do better,'" stated Jackson, who held a summit with Intel leadership and Krzanich on the issue in mid-December 2014, weeks before the announcement. Jackson continued:

"It is our hope that the participation of African Americans and Latinos will be greatly accelerated in the next five years. Participating fully and equitably in this world changing, innovative tech economy is the civil rights imperative of this generation. We must all be included and none left behind.

"Intel's Parity 2020 commitment today is the boldest action yet taken by any tech company to make this dream a reality."