New Collar Jobs

Inspiring the “New Collar” Workforce of Tomorrow

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From our early days as a company, IBM has demonstrated its commitment to finding the world’s best and brightest minds to join our ranks. Educating our workforce to meet new technological challenges has been a hallmark of our century-plus long legacy.

Mr. Guido speaks about the unlimited future of New Collar employment at his high school alma mater.

As one can imagine, the technical skill set needed in the workplace then was much different than it is today. Back then we started with scales, cheese slicers, and punch cards. Today, we are delivering cloud services that serve as the backbones of industries, and we are pioneering a new cognitive computing era with Watson.

The technological advancements of the last 100 years are inspiring, and have required perennial curiosity to acquire new knowledge, think big, adapt to change, and empower each other to exceed the collective accomplishments of previous generations.

Today, the evolving nature of technology and the way we work is creating new career opportunities for people with a diverse range of backgrounds and qualifications, which we call “New Collar.” They are in some of technology’s fastest growing fields, from cloud computing and cybersecurity to digital design and data science – and don’t always require a four-year degree.

Further breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering, and math – at IBM and beyond – are just waiting to be discovered. In just five years since it launched, our P-TECH program is currently active in 60 schools across six U.S. states, and Australia. A community of 300 business partners is supporting P-TECH schools serving thousands of students. We believe that the results we have seen thus far can be duplicated elsewhere to help transform our education systems for the century ahead.

No matter what industry a student pursues, technological progress has always been a catalyst for new growth, prosperity, and successful business outcomes. As we continue to encourage study of the STEM fields though, we also understand that a strong grasp of liberal arts disciplines like history, writing, and philosophy, is crucial to interpreting massive amounts of unstructured data and unlocking the long-term value of cognitive and quantum computing.

This pursuit does not begin or end at IBM. It is accessible to anyone who is passionate about technology and ready to break down barriers in the process. We recently saw the extraordinary contributions of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan portrayed on the big screen in Hidden Figures, which was nominated for several Academy Awards. While their achievements may have been aided by an IBM mainframe, it was their dedication, forethought, and courage that enabled John Glenn to orbit the earth in 1962.

Last Friday, I spoke to students at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark, New Jersey, my alma mater. It was a special opportunity to hear their goals and aspirations, and share the potential that technology can have for their futures. During my career at IBM, I have witnessed remarkable changes in both the company itself and the industries that our technology serves – changes I could never have imagined during my own high school years.

These days, children and young adults have practically been born with mobile devices in hand, and they come to understand new technology far earlier and faster than their parents did. There is so much more that we will learn, and it will be our young people who will lead the way.

In addition to technology, the meaning behind our IBM motto has also evolved through the years. “THINK” remains a simple but powerful reminder that whether you are a business executive, young professional, or soon-to-be high school graduate, pairing critical thinking and technical skills with ambition will be the key to “out-thinking” the competition and ensuring one’s own personal potential is unlimited.

Phil Guido is General Manager of IBM Global Technology Services, North America.

Related Resources:

USA TODAY – IBM’s Rometty: We Need to Fill “New Collar” Jobs That Employers Demand

Business Insider: IBM’s Concept of “New Collar Jobs” Could Be Vital in an Automated Future

Phil Guido: Building a Brighter Future for Connecticut’s Students


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