Following the recent announcement of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 5th annual National Apprenticeship Week running November 11-17, USCIB is showcasing the positive impact apprenticeship programs have in addressing the U.S. skills gap and preparing the American workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Each week, USCIB is featuring case studies of members that are making an impact in re-skilling and re-training the workforce as part of the White House Pledge to America’s Workers.
USCIB member IBM has created and expanded multiple training channels, from apprenticeships to innovative reboots of high-school career and technical education programs, all with a focus on preparing students and working professionals for the many well-paying jobs in today’s technology industry that do not always require a traditional bachelor’s degree. These aren’t “blue collar” or “white collar” jobs, but in fact, “new collar” jobs that prioritize capabilities over credentials. For IBM, what matters most in these roles is having the right mix of in-demand skills and a commitment to lifelong learning. IBM believes that companies bringing advanced technologies to market have a responsibility to prepare students and workers for the way those technologies will shape jobs and the very nature of work. And through that commitment, the company is expanding job opportunities in parts of the country where technology jobs have been scarce at best, from Missouri to Louisiana to West Virginia.
New collar roles can be found in some of technology’s fastest growing fields, including cloud computing, cybersecurity and digital design, to name just a few. IBM’s goal is to shift mindsets in the tech industry, opening the hiring aperture for candidates with non-traditional backgrounds and making the tech workforce more diverse and inclusive. Whether you’ve built skills through coding camps, community colleges, apprenticeships or modern career education programs, there’s a job for you at today’s IBM.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the programs IBM has created:
In 2011, IBM helped pioneer the groundbreaking P-TECH public education model so students preparing to enter the workforce can start learning skills for new collar roles during high school. P-TECH addresses education and workforce development challenges. Students can earn their high school diploma and no-cost associate degree aligned to real career opportunities in six years or less. The program combines classroom education with mentoring and workplace experiences, all grounded in relevant skills that are in-demand among American employers. Business partners are essential to P-TECH success, as they provide mentors for students, host site visits and paid internships, and commitment to putting P-TECH graduates at the front of the line for job interviews. IBM is working with governors across the United States to expand this model and prepare more American students for new collar careers. By the end of 2019, 200 P-TECH schools will be serving 125,000 students across 10 U.S. states and 14 countries.
To help expand new collar opportunities for students and mid-career professionals, IBM launched a 21st century paid apprenticeship program in October 2017, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. This initiative focuses on building skills in cybersecurity, mainframe administration, software development and more. The 12-18 month program pairs apprentices with an IBM mentor to work on real IBM projects, along with traditional classroom learning. The apprenticeship program has proven to be very successful, growing twice as fast as expected in just the first year. By the end of 2019, IBM will have hired 500 apprentices and the company plans to hire 450 more each year for the next five years. Because of the widespread success of this program, IBM teamed with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in January 2019 to create the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, where IBM’s apprenticeship model provides the foundation for a group of top tier companies to build or expand thousands of apprenticeships in communities coast to coast.
IBM has been a major American employer for more than a century. Two generations ago, the company helped launch the country’s first courses in computer science so workers nationwide could work with machines that were poised to reshape our lives. Today, the company is carrying that legacy forward with AI and cloud computing poised to change everything once more.
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