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IBM Community College Partnerships Support Next-Gen IT Training

IBM is partnering with community colleges across the United States to help prepare students for "New Collar" career opportunities, defined as well-paying jobs in which "in-demand technology skills are valued more than credentials, and a traditional four-year college degree may not always be required."

The technology company will collaborate with the participating institutions on curriculum design for next-generation IT skills; offer community college students opportunities for internships and apprenticeships; and hire students for IBM careers. The partnership will include schools in or near Columbia, MO, Rocket Center, WV, Dubuque, IA, Boulder, CO, Poughkeepsie, NY, Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, Dallas and Houston — areas which the company notes have traditionally 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, in a statement. "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."

A few examples of IBM's current community college partnerships include:

  • Moberly Area Community College, where IBM is recruiting for "New Collar" positions; facilitating training sessions on STEAM topics; and providing mentors to MACC students;
  • Northeast Iowa Community College, where a customized five-week course trains incoming IBM "New Collar" interns and entry-level IBM employees from the school;
  • Allegany College of Maryland, where IBM has consulted on the college's technology-based curriculum for its cybersecurity program; and
  • Wake Technical Community College, where the company is helping 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 Moberly Area Community College, in a statement. "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."

For more information, visit the IBM site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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