IBM to Expand New Collar Career Partnerships with U.S. Community Colleges

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Armonk, NY - 07 Jun 2017: IBM (NYSE: IBM), America’s largest technology employer, today announced it is expanding partnerships with numerous community colleges in the United States to better prepare more Americans for “New Collar” career opportunities. In these well-paying roles, in-demand technology skills are valued more than credentials, and a traditional four-year college degree may not always be required.

In addition to collaborating on curricula design for next generation IT skills, IBM will work with community colleges near its major U.S. facilities to offer more local students the opportunity to participate in internships and apprenticeships within the company, as well as direct hiring for IBM careers. This initiative will grow over the next six months to include more than a dozen schools in or near communities such as Columbia, MO; Rocket Center, WV; Dubuque, IA; Boulder, CO; Poughkeepsie, NY; Raleigh, NC; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX and Houston, TX. With this initiative, IBM is working to expand technology career opportunities in areas that traditionally have been underserved by high-tech employers.

“IBM has had real success tapping into a talent pool that doesn't have traditional degrees. Last year alone, these New Collar professionals accounted for around 15 percent of our U.S. hiring," said Sam Ladah, IBM’s vice president of talent. “We're delighted to be providing more community college students with access to emerging technologies at the forefront of our industry, as well as hands-on exposure to New Collar career paths. Our goal is to make the IT industry more inclusive by helping a more diverse set of candidates understand that if they have the right skills, there’s an opportunity for them at today’s IBM.”

Examples of New Collar community college partnerships that IBM recently has expanded include:

  • IBM is working with Moberly Area Community College (MACC) in Moberly, MO to recruit New Collar positions through a major hiring initiative. The first class of New Collar interns, many of whom attend MACC, started with IBM in the spring of 2017. Also, IBMers from the company’s nearby Columbia, MO location will be volunteering in several programs, including MACC’s STEAM camp – focusing on STEM skills and the arts – this summer. These IBMers will facilitate training sessions and host panel discussions on robotics, artificial intelligence, internet of things and IBM Cloud platforms to encourage high schoolers to take an active interest in technology. Starting in fall 2017, IBM Columbia’s Network for Emerging Women chapter will serve as mentors to MACC students, leading seminars in resume writing, interview skills and business acumen.
  • This month, IBM and Northeast Iowa Community College in Dubuque, IA are launching a customized five-week course for incoming IBM New Collar interns from the school, as well as entry-level IBM employees. The course will focus on in-demand skills, such as computer ethics, time management and introductions to operating system platforms, virtualization, coding and IT trouble shooting.
  • IBM is building on its existing relationship with Allegany College of Maryland, the nearest community college to its Rocket Center, WV Cloud and Client Innovation Center, to enhance high-tech skills training collaboration across state lines. IBM has consulted with the college on technology-based curriculum for its cybersecurity program. As a prominent member of a local college-led consortium, The Western Maryland IT Center of Excellence, IBM works closely with Allegany College of Maryland and other community partners to make training in New Collar skills related to cloud computing and cybersecurity more readily available to the local workforce. IBM’s local team also coaches Allegany College of Maryland students through classroom roundtables and mock interviews.
  • IBM is partnering with Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC to develop training focused on IT skills such as cloud, data science, cybersecurity and design.

“Initiatives like this provide a great opportunity to prepare our students and graduates to compete for and land marketable jobs,” said Jo Fey, Dean of Career and Technical Education at Missouri’s Moberly Area Community College. “This will also position them well for the future as job openings increasingly call for technical skills and work experience that do not come automatically with a degree.”

“The nation's community colleges are a pathway to well-paying jobs for many Americans," said Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. "By aligning local economic development needs and the needs of students, community colleges bridge the gap between employers and skilled workers. We will continue to leverage partnerships with the business sector to help to ensure that American workers and businesses remain competitive in the 21st century global labor market."

IBM has long-standing academic training partnerships with more than 70 U.S. universities and community colleges to help address America’s growing skills gap. In addition, IBM’s groundbreaking P-TECH model, which better prepares U.S. students for success in fast-growing New Collar careers, has expanded to an estimated 60 schools in six U.S. states, with 300 plus industry partners on board.

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