IBM Launches ''Transition to Teaching'' Program

First-of-a-kind national program to leverage scientific expertise of experienced workers who opt to teach

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NEW YORK - 16 Sep 2005: IBM announced today it will help address the critical shortage of math and science teachers by leveraging the brains and backgrounds of some of its most experienced employees enabling them to become fully accredited teachers in their local communities upon electing to leave the company.

The IBM Transition to Teaching program will begin as a pilot with as many as 100 United States employees in various geographic areas participating across the country and, if successful, will expand significantly and engage other companies, too. Each employee will be able to participate in both online course work and more traditional courses, participate in online mentoring while remaining at the company, as well as student teach for up to three months in order to meet state certification requirements and prepare them with quality experiences.

IBM will reimburse participants up to $15,000 for tuition and stipends while they student teach as well as provide online mentoring and other support services in conjunction with partner colleges, universities and school districts.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs requiring science, engineering and technical training will increase 51 percent through 2008. This increase could lead to 6 million job openings for scientists, engineers and technicians. In order to prepare today's young people for these careers, more than 260,000 new math and science teachers are needed by the 2008-2009 school year. Simultaneously, 76 million baby boomers are approaching traditional retirement age, with many reporting they plan to continue working in fields where they can give back to their communities.

"Many of our experienced employees have math and science backgrounds and have made it clear that when they are ready to leave IBM they aren't ready to stop contributing," said Stanley Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation and vice president of IBM Corporate Community Relations. "They want to continue working in positions that offer them the opportunity to give back to society in an extremely meaningful way. Transferring their skills from IBM to the classroom is a natural for many - especially in the areas of math and science."

IBM's Transition to Teaching Program is an extension of IBM's work in the education field and in community service. Since 1994, IBM has been involved in school reform through its Reinventing Education program, the company's flagship program with an investment of $75 million worldwide. More than 100,000 teachers have been trained in this program worldwide, and IBM's community service program currently engages 44,000 employees who have donated nearly 2 million hours of service to local schools.

IBM's most recent partnerships with school districts in the U.S. have focused on improving teacher preparation. Through the Transition to Teaching program, IBM will combine its work in education with its professionals, many with math and science expertise, to build a cadre of well trained teachers to address the chronic shortage of educators.

"New York schools are focused on preparing students for the innovation economy," said State Education Commissioner Richard Mills. "New York needs more people with math and science skills to meet the growing job demand, but we need more teachers to make that happen. Today's announcement represents an important step by one of our biggest employers and leading companies, but we hope IBM is just the first company to step forward in this new initiative."

The IBM pilot will be operational in January in New York, North Carolina and other locations where IBM has a significant population. Employees will need management approval and to fulfill general requirements such as 10 years of service with IBM, a bachelor's degree in math or science or a higher degree in a related field, and some experience teaching, tutoring or volunteering in a school or other children's program.

"The public-private partnership being announced today will help us recruit talented, dedicated individuals who know that teaching is the key to our students' success," said Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools. "I thank and commend IBM for setting such a great example and urge other corporations and organizations to sponsor similar programs"

IBM employees have a history of volunteering in the community. Almost 45,000 employees worldwide participate in On Demand Community, many in their local schools. This school year, 7,500 IBM employees will be online mentors for middle school students and more than 3,000 employees visited classrooms in the U.S. through National Engineers Week in 2005.

"The IBM Transition to Teaching Program is one of the most exciting and hopeful things I have seen come along to help us have more highly qualified math and science teachers," said James B. Hunt, Jr., chairman of the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy and former governor of North Carolina. "IBM employees are smart, highly motivated and thousands of them already volunteer and tutor in America's public schools. Now, many of them will become terrific full-time teachers with the company's strong support. I hope more companies and organizations will follow IBM's great example."

IBM's work in Kindergarten through 12th grade education coupled with the company's volunteer program, named On Demand Community, provides a base for the Transition to Teaching program.