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IBM Invites Corporations to Address Critical Teacher Shortage

Proposes 10,000 New Teachers Come From Private Sector

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WASHINGTON, DC - 07 Oct 2005: IBM today invited corporate America to address the critical shortage of teachers facing the nation's schools at the Business Education Network Summit. The company urged United States corporations to join in transitioning employees to second careers as teachers in U.S. kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms.

According to a 2005 National Center for Education Information Study, 40 percent of public school teachers are planning to exit the profession within the next five years. One-third (34 percent) of high school teachers expect to be retired by then.

IBM recently announced a new Transition to Teaching program that will allow experienced employees to become fully accredited teachers in their local communities upon electing to leave the company. The IBM program will begin as a pilot in January with as many as 100 U.S. employees in various geographic areas participating across the country. IBM is committed to sharing its program, methodologies, materials, and experience with any company willing to join this effort.

"One of the key elements for strong communities is a solid school system," said Stephen Jordan, executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Corporate Citizenship. "IBM's innovative transition program for getting professional business people into the classroom will help our schools, our communities and our nation. It's a model that we plan to share with many other interested businesses, and we look forward to seeing it succeed."

The IBM program will focus on math and science teachers, areas in which many IBM employees have strong backgrounds. But the need for teachers is across all disciplines. Transferring skills from the corporate environment to the classroom is an innovative way to address the need for teachers and provide students with the real-world perspective.

According to Ann Cramer, IBM director of Corporate Community Relations, "If 100 companies will join us in training 100 employees as teachers, we can help put 10,000 educators in the classroom."

Cramer spoke at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Corporate Citizenship Business Education Network Summit in Washington, D.C. which brought together corporate leaders, educators and not-for-profit leaders.

"There are many great teachers in our schools today that are doing a great job. Their work is challenging, and we commend their efforts," said Cramer. "This is just one small step in addressing the teacher shortage. This is an innovative way to help turn the tide."

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