New Collar Jobs

Tech for Good: Building New Collar Skills

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Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM, and Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO, BNP Paribas, co-chairs of the Tech for Education workstream held during the Tech for Good Summit in Paris, France, on May 15th, 2019. (Source: IBM)

Intelligent automation is disrupting and transforming economies around the world, and France is among them. While French unemployment declined in 2018 it is still among the highest in Europe, at nearly 9 percent.

Despite this fact, some companies still struggle to find candidates with the necessary skills and expertise needed to compete in the 21st century. Consider, that only 48 percent of vocational school graduates here in France are employed seven months after graduation.

With trends like these, it is imperative that we collaborate across the private and public sector to provide more opportunities to French workers. Such is the mission of French President Emmanuel Macron’s Tech for Good Summit, a meeting of the world’s top tech CEOs being held today, on the eve of the Viva Technology 2019 conference in Paris.

The summit, which was first held in 2018, is designed to bring together the tech leaders to discuss strategic ways that technology can be applied to the common good and in five specific areas: the workplace, diversity, education, economic inclusiveness and environment.

IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty is co-leading with BNP Paribas’s CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafé an education working group at the Summit, which is designed to help the French workforce prepare for emerging business and social transformation.

Watch Ginni Rometty deliver the keynote address at VivaTech 2019, May 16, 2019:

In addition to Rometty’s participation, IBM France announced today several new initiatives to drive skills training and education further across the country:

  • The launch of the very first two P-TECH schools in France, to provide technical and professional educational opportunities to young people, primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • A new digital SkillsBuild platform to help the unemployed and those changing careers develop the technical and professional skills needed to re-enter the workforce;
  • New commitments to apprenticeship programs, including participation in the OpenClassrooms initiative.


In partnership with the French Ministry for Education, BNP Paribas and Orange, IBM announced the introduction of P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), a pioneering education initiative in France.

Starting in September, the Lycée La Tournelle (La Garenne-Colombes) and the Lycée Edmond Labbé, (Douai) will introduce P-TECH classes, designed to provide relevant technical and professional education opportunities to young people from primarily disadvantaged backgrounds.

P-TECH was created by IBM in 2011 to open new pathways, by creating a direct connection between secondary school or lycée, college and career. The objective is to help students graduate with a secondary school diploma and then an associate degree aligned to industry needs, through workplace experiences, including mentorship and internships.

The French P-TECH model is based on a close collaboration between the French Ministry of Education, French secondary schools and partner companies. They are working together to provide individual and long-term support to students from their first year of lycée to their last year of college. Students who have completed this program will then be able to choose to continue their studies or to start working.

The program prepares students for future employment with mentorships, internships and shadowing at partner companies. Upon graduation, students will be able to apply and interview for entry-level jobs with industrial partners. We call these “New Collar” jobs because they require specialist technical skills, but not always a university degree.

This IBM “New Collar” program is one of the most significant global initiative of its kind, with 200 P-TECH schools serving 125,000 students across 13 countries, including France, when the current school year starts this year.


IBM is also launching SkillsBuild, a new digital platform, which provides job seekers –including those returning to work after leave, the long-term unemployed, migrants, veterans and those changing professions –with the digital content, personalized coaching and experiential learning they need to gain technical and professional skills required to re-enter the workforce.

The first deployment of the program will be introduced in partnership with NGOs and non-profits, including Aurore, Emmaüs France, Fondation Agir Contre l’Exclusion, Fondation des Apprentis d’Auteuil, and Institut de l’Engagement.

Following its launch in France, the program will expand to Germany and the UK in the second half of 2019, before its global roll-out.

New Apprenticeships

In association with OpenClassRoom, IBM will participate in an on-line apprenticeship program that provides resources and volunteers to help increase participation in science and technology at schools. IBM will contribute to the pioneering OpenClassrooms apprenticeship initiative with a commitment to hire apprentices and to contribute hands-on projects and mentorship to the program.

Why this matters

IBM has recommitted to investments to support business and societal transformation in France, including new regional centers with public and private partners. By helping to upskill and reskill job seekers, and by helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get educated for employment in high-growth industries, we are helping to create a vibrant, healthy and productive workforce. Nothing could be more important.

IBM France, Country General Manager

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