IBM Unveils Playbook for U.S. Cities to Develop Grades 9-14 Schools That Prepare Students for Technology Jobs

IBM and City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago to open grades 9-14 school, modeled after NYC school and informed by Playbook

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Chicago - 28 Feb 2012: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today released a new playbook designed to outline how to develop an innovative grades 9-14 school that connects education to economic development and good-paying jobs. (#THINKskills) In conjunction with the release of the playbook, IBM also unveiled plans to partner with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) to open a grades 9-14 school in the City of Chicago enabling students to graduate with an associate’s degree and enter the workforce with the marketable skills that many employers now require.

The playbook demonstrates how Chicago and other cities across the United States can implement and replicate an education model that blends high school, college and career into one. Called “STEM Pathways to College and Careers Schools: A Development Guide,” the playbook is the result of a three-month IBM Smarter Cites Challenge grant to the City of Chicago. It outlines specific details such as designing a curriculum, creating an integrated college experience, and building a strong teaching faculty. 

“To put America back to work, parents, teachers, students, civic leaders, and private sector employers must collaborate on new and innovative approaches to public education,” said Stanley S. Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM. “Today’s announcement will help close the skills gap not only in the City of Chicago, but in any city that chooses to implement the playbook and open a grades 9-14 school.” 

In reviewing the Chicago labor market, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge experts found that the largest growth area for jobs in the next six years is in Information Technology (IT). To help increase the skills of Chicago’s students and train its workforce, the City of Chicago will open five new grades 9-14 schools offering an increased focus on technology skills and career readiness. These new schools will incorporate a six-year program culminating in an associate's degree and provide students with the science, math and technology skills needed to transition into careers focused on technology.  

As one of the corporate sponsors of the schools, IBM will recruit corporate volunteers to mentor every student entering the school. These students will participate in both in-person and online mentor sessions with the IBM employees to focus the students on career goals. IBM will help shape the curriculum and connect the students to the skills required in the workplace by providing guest speakers, workplace visits and internships. Graduates then will be “first in line” for jobs at IBM.  

The school will open in September 2012 with a class of ninth graders at the new southwest area high school being built at 7651 South Homan in Chicago. IBM will open the school in partnership with CPS and CCC. Each student will be able to graduate in four-years with a high school diploma with college credits, with a goal of graduating within six years with an Associate of Science (AS) degree in Computer Science or an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Information Technology. The college courses will be taught by professors from CCC. 

These schools in Chicago follow the opening of the nation’s first 9-14 school that blends high school, college and career in one. IBM worked with the City of New York to open Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn this past September with more than 100 ninth grade students.  

IBM's $50 million Smarter Cities Challenge grant program provides expert IBM advice to 100 progressive cities worldwide to help improve city services and quality of life. More information on IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge grant program can be found at For more information on IBM can be found at Follow IBM’s citizenship activities on twitter @CitizenIBM. Follow the grades 9-14 school conversation on twitter at #THINKskills.  

Registered journalists and bloggers can download b-roll about the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge in Chicago at

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