[Skip to Content]


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: IBM, Armonk, NY USA
Nomination Category: Achievement in Workforce Development and Learning

Entry Title: IBM "New Collar" Initiative

Achievement Essay:

There are over 500,000 technology job openings in the U.S. at any given time, and companies like IBM are struggling to find candidates with the right skills to fill them. In response, IBM launched a “new collar” initiative, which promotes newly created jobs in areas like cloud computing, cybersecurity, design and AI. Many of these new collar jobs do not necessarily require a Bachelor’s degree, but instead the right mix of in-demand skills. The skills required for these positions can be built a number of ways, from two-year colleges to modern vocational training programs, coding bootcamps, industry certification, new school models and more.

According to IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty, the nature of work is evolving, requiring new skills as well as new approaches to education, training and recruiting.

With a commitment to invest $1 billion in workforce development and training in the next four years, the new collar initiative is making the IT industry more inclusive by helping a more diverse set of candidates obtain the right skills for employment opportunities at IBM.

Creating new collar jobs requires collaboration between governments, school systems, colleges and private business:

-IBM’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) is a six-year public HS that combines a relevant traditional curriculum with necessary skills from community colleges, mentoring and real-world job experience. P-TECH graduates earn both a high school diploma and a two-year associate degree, giving them the skills and confidence for new collar jobs. P-Tech has expanded to seven states and globally to Australia and Africa, reaching more than 20,000 students. ptech.org has also helped school districts, colleges, universities and businesses establish new P-TECH schools across the nation. More than 300 small and large businesses are partnering with P-TECH schools.

-IBM Security is partnering with the Hacker High School project, an open cybersecurity training program, to address the 1.8 million talent shortage in cybersecurity.

-IBM is partnering with more than a dozen community colleges in or near communities where it operates to jointly develop curriculums and offer students the opportunity to participate in internships and apprenticeships, as well as direct hiring.

-IBM’s community colleges partnerships include:
- The first class of IBM new collar interns from Moberly Area Community College in Missouri this spring.
- Northeast Iowa Community College - Designing a customized five-week course for incoming IBM New Collar interns and entry-level IBM employees
- Allegany College of Maryland -Helping develop a technology-based curriculum for its cybersecurity program
- Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina to develop training focused on cloud, data science, cybersecurity and design.

Military veterans’ outstanding skills and value make them a natural fit for a host of new collar positions. IBM is expanding its collaboration with veteran recruiting experts and training organizations, and recently launched a veterans’ job portal and is committed to hiring 2,000 U.S. veterans in next four years.

White Paper
To help other organizations, IBM published a white paper outlining several steps for companies to create their own strategic talent approach, such as:
-Redefining hiring models with less focus on degrees as prerequisites and more focus on attributes and skills.
-Expanding recruiting to community colleges, high schools and professional certification programs.
-Creating new partnerships with governments, organizations and schools.
-Providing robust support for new hires with mentorships, shadowing, and continuous learning opportunities.
IBM is leading the charge to address the technology skills gap, thinking differently about where and how they recruit talent. Last year, new collar candidates without a traditional Bachelor’s degree accounted for 10-15% of all IBM hiring in the United States.
“It makes sense for our business, for the job candidates and for the communities,” says Sam Ladah, IBM’s HR VP. “If someone’s got the right skills, there’s a job for them at today’s IBM.”

Achievement Summary

· Launched a “New Collar” initiative, which promotes newly created jobs in areas like cloud computing, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence
· invest $1 billion, helping a more diverse set of candidates obtain the right skills for employment opportunities
· established new P-TECH schools across the nation.
· IBM is partnering with more than a dozen community colleges
· IBM is expanding collaboration with veteran recruiting experts and training organizations
· IBM outlined steps in a white paper so companies can create their own strategic talent approach
· 20% of the new IBM hires have less than a traditional bachelor’s degree