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Tech firms launch their own 'economic stimulus' plan, pledge $3.5 billion

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Silicon Valley firms put up funds for new startups, commit to boost hiring by 10,500 over the coming year.

The economic stimulus package launched by the US government last year may help create jobs and opportunities in shovel-ready areas such as construction and infrastructure, but Silicon Valley felt it needed an additional boost. Now, some leading tech companies and venture capitalist firms  just teamed up in an effort to launch their own stimulus package for the economy.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini

Through an initiative called the Invest in America Alliance, Intel, Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and 13 other employers pledged to add jobs in 2010 — specifically by hiring 10,500 graduates of American colleges, largely those with computer science and engineering degrees.

In addition, Intel and 24 venture capital firms that they planned to invest $3.5 billion in American start-ups over the next two years.

In announcing the initiative, Intel CEO Paul Otellini (pictured, above) put it this way:

"A year ago, we were focused on avoiding economic calamity. Today we need to start focusing on our future.  That future is going to be more demanding, more competitive, and frankly, more disruptive to American business.  But, those conditions, as anyone who has worked in Silicon Valley knows, can be exactly the right environment for new thinking and breakthrough innovations. That is why fostering such an environment ought to be the essential characteristic of our economic policy and the plans of every competitive business."

The Alliance is a two-pronged effort. The first includes a commitment from Intel Capital, Intel Corporation's global investment organization, and 24 leading venture capital firms to invest $3.5 billion in U.S.-based technology companies over the next two years. These investments, which include a new, $200 million Intel Capital Invest in America Technology Fund, will target key innovation and growth segments such as clean technology, information technology and biotechnology.

Second, the Invest in America Alliance also includes commitments from 17 technology and other corporate leaders to increase their hiring of college graduates, some by as much as two times. The group's intention is to hire up to 10,500 graduates over the coming year. While the new jobs will largely be for those with engineering and computer science backgrounds, positions available also include financial analysis, marketing, management consulting, sales and other business skills in the majority of states across America.

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Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure