Future of Work

IBM Launches New Collar Professional Certificates on Coursera

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A new IBM study of global C-suite executives revealed that nearly six in ten responding organizations had accelerated their digital transformations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Participating businesses are seeing more clearly the critical role people play in driving their ongoing change. Leaders surveyed called out organizational complexity, inadequate skills, and employee burnout as the biggest hurdles to overcome — both today and in the next two years. The study finds a significant disconnect in how effective leaders and employees believe companies have been in addressing these gaps.

IBM’s Response to Skills Gap

IBM believes that companies bringing advanced technologies to market have a responsibility to 1) Prepare people for the way those technologies will reshape jobs, and 2) Ensure that economic opportunity created by those innovations is inclusive. Innovation should make our workforce more inclusive, not less.

New collar jobs and training initiatives address the tech industry’s skills gap and create multiple pathways for people to land these jobs.

  • These aren’t “blue collar” or “white collar” jobs, they’re what IBM Executive Chair Ginni Rometty has coined “new collar” roles in technology that prioritize skills and capabilities over degrees or having a traditional career path. What matters most in these roles is having the right mix of skills and a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • New collar roles are in some of technology’s fastest growing fields, including data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity and digital design, to name just a few.

The skills gap calls for a massive retraining. We’re changing the paradigm around skills and moving them to the center of our talent model, via our apprenticeships registered with the Department of Labor, our returnships like Tech Re-Entry that provide paths back into the workforce, and innovative reboots of high-school career and technical education programs (P-TECH).

Our Call to Action: Even as IBM expands its own new collar recruiting and training initiatives, we are calling on policy makers worldwide to expand career-oriented funding and training to ensure the workforce is equipped for success in the new-collar roles of today and tomorrow. Digital platforms like Open-PTECH,SkillsBuild and SkillBuild Reignite provide 1000’s of people with free job readiness training, badges and mentorship services. We recognize that the skills gap is a bigger challenge than any one company can solve. That’s why we design new collar training programs that other companies, organizations and even governments can easily adopt and scale, even when IBM is not directly involved at every step.

  • We provide frameworks, playbooks, and guidance for Business Roundtable Member companies, members of The Aspen Institute, and to our clients.
  • In January of 2019, we teamed with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) to create the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, where IBM is providing frameworks and playbooks for other companies and organizations to create or expand thousands of their own apprenticeship programs across the country.
  • In November of 2019, the California Department of Technology adopted our framework to launch their own apprenticeships, in the state’s first-ever public private partnership to create a technology apprenticeship.


Making Career-based training accessible for all 

At IBM we’ve recently carried the commitment that skills matter more than degrees forward by creating 1,000 new paid internship opportunities to help address the challenge of racial inequality. While these jobs may not require a degree, they need a specific skillset mapped to particular roles’ competencies. Having a verifiable skill set aligned to specific job roles that prepare an individual for an entry-level position in these new-collar roles is essential. IBM partnered with Coursera to create 2 new-collar Professional Certificates in the most in-demand domains of Data Science and Cybersecurity. Learn more about job demand, role and training:

IBM Data Science Analyst Professional Certificate here

IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate here

The unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 global outbreak are ushering humanity to a new normal period in human history. One which requires organizations and individuals alike to keep their focus on  ongoing skills development in line with the technology advancements driving the workforce changes.
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