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Workforce Readiness

IBM Commits to Train 2 Million AI Learners for Free by 2026

As part of the 2023 78th General Assembly of the United Nations, IBM announced it will train, for free, 2 million learners in artificial intelligence worldwide within the next three years, building on its existing commitment to skill 30 million learners by 2030.

The free program, called IBM SkillsBuild, will use its career-building platforms to partner with universities around the world to develop and make available new generative AI courses, with a significant focus on adult learners in underrepresented communities.

A recent IBM study confirmed that executives feel AI and automation skills will "require 40% of their workforce to reskill over the next three years, mostly those in entry-level positions," the company said.

SkillsBuild helps high school and college students, adult learners, and faculty develop new skills and gain access to career opportunities. The online platform is customized with practical learning experiences through collaborative global partnerships. In its open version, SkillsBuild offers over 1,000 courses in 20 languages in AI, cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing, and other technical areas, as well as in workplace skills.

The enhanced partner version goes deeper, with workshops, conversations with IBM mentors, project-based learning, access to IBM software, special support from partners, and career opportunities, IBM said.

While free coursework in AI fundamentals, chatbots, and AI ethics is already available, new generative AI coursework includes prompt writing, machine learning, AI customer service, and generative AI in action. Chatbot use will be part of the learning process, as will customized training based on individual preferences and experiences, the company said.

"AI skills will be essential to tomorrow's workforce," said Justina Nixon-Saintil, vice president and chief impact officer. "That's why we are investing in AI training, with a commitment to reach 2 million learners in three years, and expanding IBM SkillsBuild to collaborate with universities and nonprofits on new generative AI education for learners all over the world."

Visit the SkillsBuild page to learn more about programs tailored for learners, educators, and organizations.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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