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Intel is committed to innovation and development in Costa Rica

by | Nov 4, 2023

The decision to maintain operations in Costa Rica was mainly due to the quality of its labor force being a part of a democratic and stable country, as well as the time zone that is congruent with that of the United States. It is mainly because of these factors that Intel is committed to innovation and development in Costa Rica.

Intel ceased its manufacturing operations in Costa Rica in 2014

The technology multinational Intel, which closed its manufacturing plant in Costa Rica in 2014, is successfully moving towards a Research and Development Center in which it has opted for the talent of Costa Rican workers, a senior company official recently expressed.

In a recent interview, the general manager of Intel Costa Rica, Vincent Guglielmetti, stated that the last two years have experienced “big changes” for the benefit of the company and the Central American country.

“What has happened in the last two years was a great change. We see it as a great transformation. Intel is still in Costa Rica and is very strong. We are moving towards what the country needs: knowledge-based development of the economy,” he stated.

Intel announced in April 2014 the gradual closure of its microprocessor assembly plant in Costa Rica, which meant the dismissal of 1,500 workers.

Official data indicate that in 2013, the technology giant’s exports represented 13.7% of the country’s sales of goods and services. The innovation and development in Costa Rica that was the result of Intel’s presence was significant.

According to Guglielmetti, the decision to transform the manufacturing plant in Costa Rica was “difficult” to make. However, it had to be made from the “competitiveness perspective.”

The corporation currently employs 2,100 workers in Costa Rica, many of them from the previous project. Intel in Costa Rica hopes to continue growing. Although there are still no numbers on Intel’s progress in recent months, the company manager asserts that the process has been “successful.”

Intel has bet on innovation and development in Costa Rica

“When we announced the closure of the plant, the idea was that the research center was going to employ only 1,200 people, and that was what we thought in December 2014. At that time, we were at 1,600 employees, but we could keep some people given the changes we made, and now we have a staff of 2,100. It is a very significant change that shows success,” expressed Guglielmetti. Intel believes that at this level of employment, the company can achieve innovation and development in Costa Rica.

The Research and Development Center is currently the largest in Costa Rica. It is dedicated to the design of prototypes, testing, mapping, and validation of integrated circuit solutions, platforms (“laptops” and tablets), as well as software creation.

These technologies are designed for the future, which is why employees work on miniaturism, artificial intelligence, or advanced technology.

“The country began to evolve towards a more technological and informational approach, and that has allowed us to advance to a level of greater innovation. In addition, the talent was here in Costa Rica to continue investing,” said Guglielmetti.

According to the American executive, the decision to maintain operations in Costa Rica was mainly due to the quality of the Costa Rican labor force, being a democratic and stable country, and the time zone in sync with that of the United States.

“I think that a very competitive issue is the quality of human resources. Costa Rica has invested in many activities in finance, human resources, engineering, and shared services disciplines. Other companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Procter & Gamble have service centers here because the country has invested in it,” said the general manager of Intel.

Education institutions must keep up with workforce demands

Despite this, according to Guglielmetti, one of the challenges is that fewer and fewer professionals graduate as engineers or information technologies. Universities do not teach all the necessary skills, so they must train personnel when they start working with Intel so that innovation and development in Costa Rica can continue at the required pace.

Regarding the challenges as a country, Vincent Guglielmetti indicated that foreign investment is arriving, “but not necessarily the infrastructure to support it.”

“The roads have not changed; there is congestion everywhere, and if people live on the other side of San José, it is a problem for them to get to their workplace. The country has infrastructure and public services challenges that must be addressed,” said Guglielmetti.

Among the goals for the medium and long term, Intel seeks to continue to grow with local talent and include more women within the organization’s workforce to foment innovation and development in Costa Rica.

“From a diversity and inclusion perspective, we have chosen to increase women’s employment in technical areas to 40% between now and 2020. Currently, we are at 22%, but not only hiring them but ensuring that we are creating the environment for them to have a balance from a life perspective,” said Guglielmetti.

Intel’s Research and Development Center in Costa Rica is the largest opened by the company worldwide. It has eight business units.

Intel also operates a Global Services Center in the country that employs 1,000 people and contributes to the organization’s innovation and development in Costa Rica.

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