Jahi Chikwendiu/the Washington Post via Getty Images

As the numbers of women and people of color in Silicon Valley continue to be elucidated, it has become increasingly clear that there is a long way to go.

One tech company, however, is investing in the talent pipeline while students are still in college, ostensibly to prepare them for work in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) sectors.

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This week, tech behemoth Intel announced its HBCU Grant Program, a $4.5 million investment that encourages students to remain in STEM pathways at six historically black colleges and universities: Florida A&M University, Morgan State University, Howard University, Prairie View A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University and Tuskegee University.

Black students, who get only 11 percent of all STEM undergraduate degrees, are woefully underrepresented in these fields. Further, African-American students are more likely to switch out of STEM majors (pdf) within their first year of college.

Intel is trying to change that by investing heavily in the three-year program. According to a company press release, $3.9 million will be awarded directly to the schools for scholarships and lab experiences, and the remaining $600,000 will be used for workshops and activities so that computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering students can develop the relevant skills for success in their chosen fields.

Read more at Intel.