Responsibility at IBM

2012 Corporate Responsibility Report

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In this section, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty’s letter describes how IBM’s goal to unite its business and citizenship strategies is taking shape. We take a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to corporate responsibility and corporate citizenship at IBM, and we integrate that approach into many aspects of our company. In this section you will also find a high-level overview of some of our major activities.


It’s not enough to develop world-class technology, services and expertise—at IBM we realize we must directly apply these things to the communities in which we live and work in order to have a positive impact. In this section, you will find examples of the ways we practiced this approach over the course of 2012 and into 2013.

The IBMer

A great company is forever evolving and growing. At IBM, we make it a top priority to hire, support and retain the people who make us a great company. In this section, you will find examples of the ways we support both the personal and professional development of our employees.


IBM’s unwavering commitment to environmental protection is evidenced across all of our business activities, from our research, development, products and services to the solutions we provide our clients that help them be more protective of the environment. In this section of IBM’s Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find information on our environmental programs, performance and solutions during 2012.

Supply Chain

Social and environmental responsibility is an important part of our business relationships with our suppliers. We work closely with them to encourage sustained improvement throughout our global supply chain and across various aspects of corporate responsibility. In this section you will find examples of how we set requirements for the companies we do business with, grow the global diversity of our supply base and collaborate with industry groups and stakeholders.


IBM’s culture of ethics and integrity is guided by a rigorous system of corporate governance. In this section, you will find examples of the many ways we govern the conduct of the company, manage risk and contribute our expertise to public discourse.

Awards & Metrics

Many of our corporate responsibility efforts received recognition from others in 2012. The most significant of these are listed in “Awards and Recognition.” We rely on a number of metrics to measure our corporate responsibility efforts. Our Key Performance Indicators and other significant metrics can be found in “Performance Summary.”

Education in Communities

Educating children is a top priority in communities around the globe. At IBM, we understand that strong educational foundations are essential for preparing and supporting our children and young adults as they develop the skills they need to lead the next generation.

In 2012, our portfolio of educational programs continued to evolve and grow as we work to help strengthen teacher instruction and better meet the learning needs of children.

9-14 School Model: Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH)

Over the last five years, a great deal of attention has been paid to the shortage of jobs in the United States and elsewhere. But far less attention has been paid to the shortage of skills. There are more than 29 million middle skill jobs—those requiring postsecondary degrees—currently available in the United States, with these jobs paying more than $35,000 per year on average, according to a recent report by Georgetown University. Many of these jobs pay significantly more; nearly 10 million jobs pay more than $50,000 annually and 3.6 million pay more than $75,000 annually. Data also shows that over the next 10 years, 14 million new jobs requiring these same skills will be created. And those requiring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) expertise will offer the highest pay among them, according to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

New education models can and must play a key role in resolving this shortage by better preparing young people for twenty-first-century jobs. That’s why IBM has worked with educators and business to develop an innovative and integrated school model for grades 9-14. The first school, called Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), opened in September 2011 in Brooklyn, New York. P-TECH is a collaboration between the New York City Department of Education, The City University of New York (CUNY), New York City College of Technology and IBM.

This new model for public school innovation brings together elements of high school, college and the world of work. Within a six-year, structured and integrated timeframe, students will graduate with an Associate in Applied Science degree, along with the skills and knowledge they need to continue their studies or step seamlessly into jobs in the information technology industry. This model was designed to be both widely replicable and sustainable as part of a national effort to enhance career development and technical education. To that end IBM developed a playbook to help interested parties replicate P-TECH.

Already the P-TECH model has been replicated in four Chicago schools in September of 2012. IBM is spearheading one of these schools, the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy (Goode), in collaboration with the Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago and Richard J. Daley College. Other companies involved in the Chicago initiative include Cisco, Motorola and Verizon.

A public school model for all students

Both P-TECH and Goode are public schools and operate with existing public school funding. The schools do not screen students, meaning that there are no tests or grade requirements for admission; students only need to express interest in attending. Student learning is structured as an integrated sequence of high school and college coursework that culminates with students earning an Associate in Applied Science degree awarded by the school’s affiliated college. Each student moves through a personalized academic pathway, aligned to college and career requirements, which is closely monitored by teachers and advisors based on the student’s individual needs and performance. The focus is on mastery, not seat time.

In order to help prepare students for a career, the model features special Workplace Learning courses. As part of this strand, IBM has identified the skills necessary to fill entry-level positions in the IT industry and worked with high school and college faculty to map those skills to the curriculum. In addition, students are matched in one-to-one relationships with IBM mentors, participate in project-based learning activities, meet guest speakers, participate in structured workplace visits and, in future years, will tackle skills-based, real-world projects through internships and apprenticeships.

National spotlight

The P-TECH model has been widely covered in the media, including articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine. It was referenced in President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech, has been highlighted by the Mayors of New York City and Chicago, the Governor of New York State and also by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The P-TECH model is consistent with the US Department of Education’s “Blueprint” for Career and Technical Education reform.

A number of states, cities, private foundations and private sector companies have expressed interest in supporting a broad expansion of the model in other geographies—both urban and rural. In February of 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York would be the first state to replicate the P-TECH model with 10 new schools—one in each of the state’s 10 economic development regions. IBM hopes to serve as industry lead for two of these schools.

As the model expands, the challenge will be to engage more companies and educators to reach many more students in efforts to better connect education to jobs and spur local economic development.

“Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-TECH in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this”, said President Barack Obama during the State of the Union 2013 speech.

“We need to give every American student opportunities like this.”

President Barack Obama

Academic Achievements—Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn, New York

NYC High School Standards

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  • 98% were promoted from grade nine to ten.
  • After only two semesters, 72% of students passed both English and math Regents with a score of 65 or better, meeting NYC high school graduation requirements.
  • After only three semesters, 80% are meeting or exceeding the state standard of scoring proficient on two core Regents exams in English and math.

College Readiness Indicators

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  • After only two semesters 48% of students met the CUNY college readiness indicators by scoring a 75 on the English Language Arts Regents or an 80 on a Math Regents exam.
  • At the start of the fourth semester, 50% had met college-ready benchmarks in both English and math, which will allow over 60 students to enroll in college courses at the New York City College of Technology.

College Credit Completion

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  • Within three semesters, 48 students completed at least one college course at City Tech, and more than 90% of students earned a C or higher in technical courses.
  • Currently, 74 students are enrolled in at least one college course.

Coverage of the IBM mentoring kickoff event at P-TECH.

Teachers TryScience

IBM understands that preparing the next generation of innovators requires great science teachers with the skills and knowledge to educate, inspire and motivate students. To that end, we continue our efforts to provide teachers with the resources they need to strengthen their instruction and better prepare students for the jobs of the 21st century, which will increasingly be in STEM fields, according to the US Department of Commerce.

In the spirit of IBM’s TryScience online program for students, Teachers TryScience was launched in 2011 as a collaborative effort with the New York Hall of Science and The program is designed to help teachers improve their instruction in project-based learning by providing free and engaging lessons, integrated with pedagogical strategies and resources. The site also provides social networking tools that enable educators to comment on and rate the lessons and resources, submit their own teaching materials and form public and private groups to engage in focused discussions with colleagues in the same district or around the globe.

In 2012 we strengthened the Teachers TryScience website with the following efforts:

  • IBM teamed with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to create 15 videos of board-certified teachers instructing Teachers TryScience lessons. Based on the knowledge that an important way for teachers to improve their teaching is to observe and learn from their peers, these videos feature key teaching moments and teacher reflections. Future plans include working with Achieve, Inc. to link teacher lesson plans to the new common core standards in science.
  • In 2011, IBM launched THINK as an exhibit at Lincoln Center in New York City, one of several initiatives commemorating IBM’s Centennial anniversary. It now has a home at Innoventions West at Epcot®, part of the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida, to show how the world can work better with the help of technology. A free app was developed around the concept of THINK, and now IBM has teamed with the New York Hall of Science to develop a set of Teachers TryScience lesson plans based on the THINK app. These lessons enable teachers to help students better understand some of the scientific concepts behind the THINK exhibit and inspire them to be innovators in their daily lives.

Reading Companion

Literacy is a key contributor to the economic growth of any region. Launched more than a decade ago, Reading Companion® is IBM’s web-based literacy initiative that uses voice recognition technology to help children and adults learn to read in English. Developed by IBM researchers working together with schools and nonprofit organizations, Reading Companion is an effective and easy-to-use technology that assists individuals as they learn to read. This innovative software “listens” and provides feedback, enabling emerging readers to practice reading and their English pronunciation as they acquire fundamental reading skills.

Reading Companion has proven to be an excellent resource to IBM employees, teachers from existing grant sites and others who are interested in contributing to the growing virtual library of original content in the form of “e-books,” which are practice-reading books that can be created using the Book Builder publishing tool in Reading Companion. Once e-books are published on the website, they become part of the Reading Companion virtual library that is available to all schools and nonprofit organizations participating in this program around the world. In 2012 alone, 100 new titles were added to the Reading Companion virtual library of e-books from authors worldwide. This brings the total number of books available from the virtual library to 456, half of which are for young learners. Reading Companion is currently being used in more than 3,200 schools and nonprofit organizations in 49 countries. Approximately 160,000 users are participating in this grant program.


The number of new titles added in 2012 to the Reading Companion virtual library of e-books from authors worldwide, bringing the total to 456.

In 2012, Austin Free-Net (AFN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing digital opportunities to underserved adults in Austin, Texas, started an e-book-writing campaign based on IBM’s Reading Companion. AFN clients utilize Reading Companion to exercise their recently acquired computer skills and improve their reading, while learning valuable information along the way. And AFN volunteers have written e-books that can be read by Reading Companion users worldwide.

Additionally, the British Council contributed several stories from their LearnEnglish and TeachingEnglish websites, along with accompanying lesson plans for many of the e-books. With more than 70 years of English language teaching and learning experience, the British Council supports millions of teachers and learners around the world by offering resources and training materials.

“IBM’s Reading Companion gives our adult learners the ability to improve their reading skills while creating their own unique story. This program opens minds and changes lives.”

Meredith Sisnett

Trainer with Austin Free-Net

KidSmart Early Learning Program

IBM’s KidSmart Early Learning Program enriches pre-kindergarten curriculum with interactive teaching and learning activities through the use of technology. IBM’s KidSmart program features Young Explorer™, a computer housed in brightly colored, child-friendly Little Tikes™ furniture and equipped with award-winning educational software to help children learn and explore concepts in math, science and language. Since the inception of the KidSmart Early Learning Program in 1998, IBM has donated more than 64,000 Young Explorers to schools and nonprofit organizations in 60 countries, reaching more than 110,000 teachers and serving more than 10 million students.

Increasingly, countries around the world have identified investing in quality early childhood education as vital for the future success of children. In 2012 the US Department of Education announced Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC), a grant competition focused on improving the quality of learning and development programs for young children. IBM made strategic investments in several states that were awarded RTT-ELC grants including Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island and North Carolina, donating 270 Young Explorers, consulting services and software together valued at over $800,000.

As part of our response to Hurricane Sandy, which devastated coastal areas in the Northeastern United States during the fall of 2012, 226 Young Explorers were donated for use in shelters, schools and locations where families receive services.

Also in 2012 a Corporate Service Corps (CSC) team of IBMers was deployed to the Eastern Cape of South Africa to further develop a robust tool for KidSmart monitoring, evaluation and teacher professional development. The tool was initially created by a previous CSC team working in Limpopo province. Informed by an agreement with the national Ministry of Education, the system incorporates systematic evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning, ongoing professional development, collaborative working and full curriculum integration. The monitoring and evaluation tool will also be used by the Ministry of Education as a basis for evaluating the implementation of South Africa’s new national curriculum. Based on the successful performance of the system in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces, the South African Ministry of Education plans to extend this initiative nationwide. It will also be shared with other African countries implementing the KidSmart program.


The number of Young Explorer™ child-friendly computers IBM has donated since the KidSmart Early Learning Program began in 1998.

Transition to Teaching

Transition to Teaching is an extension of IBM’s work in education and community service. Since 2006, IBM has supported those employees who want to begin second careers as fully accredited teachers in STEM subjects in their local communities. Transition to Teaching provides employees with guidance and funding to help them transition into teaching as their next career move, while still working at IBM. IBM was the first company to provide its employees with the opportunity to pursue a second career as a K-12 math or science teacher.

By 2012, the number of employees who are participating in the Transition to Teaching program topped 100, and 32 graduates have already completed their teacher certification and are teaching in classrooms or leading online courses in the United States.

Acknowledging that a shift in vocation takes time and training, the Transition to Teaching initiative helps underwrite the costs while employees pursue the education and training experiences required for teacher certification—combining traditional coursework, online courses and practice teaching. Employees are able to choose the certification program that meets their needs so they can get the necessary education courses as well as assistance during the student teaching period.

IBM continues to share what it has learned about the critical path to a second career in teaching with other companies, as well as with the education community. We hope to help develop a thriving talent pipeline for K-12 science and math teachers.


The number of IBMers who have completed their teacher certification and are currently teaching in classrooms or leading online courses.

University Relations

Collaborating with the academic community has been critical to IBM throughout the company’s history. We believe that higher learning is central to the advancement of our company, and civilization in general. That’s why IBM works with thousands of universities around the world on a number of levels; we conduct collaborative research and development, we provide awards and donations and we inform curriculum to help develop the next generation of science and technology innovators.

Among the highlights in 2012:

  • Cybersecurity fundamentals program – While many universities are building courses and degree programs in these areas, there is a shortage of faculty to teach these courses. To help train faculty, IBM developed a 40-hour "train the trainer" program in cybersecurity fundamentals, delivered as a pilot to 25 professors from six universities in Costa Rica, where IBM has a Global Delivery Center. IBM is making training materials available to faculty around the world to help increase the number of graduates with these critical skills.
  • Collaborative Innovation Centers – Technology is changing at an ever-increasing rate and this has led to some well-defined skills shortages. Because there aren't enough skilled practitioners, opportunities are being left unfulfilled. IBM is working with universities on regional economic development projects where critical skills can be consolidated into a Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC), funded by governments and industry collaborators. CICs can comprise one or more universities and perform needed research to further develop disciplines such as business analytics.

    In 2012, IBM worked with the Government of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business, Inc. and a consortium of six higher education institutions to create curriculum and research programs to help equip students with the high-demand analytics skills needed to drive the local economy. In conjunction with this initiative, IBM entered into a services agreement with the Government of Nova Scotia, and an agreement with Nova Scotia Business Inc. to assist in the establishment of an IBM Services Delivery Center that will create up to 500 new highly skilled jobs within Nova Scotia.

  • CrisisTracker – Developed as part of the Open Collaboration Research program between IBM Research and University of Oulu in Finland, CrisisTracker is a tool that captures Twitter activity around large-scale events such as natural disasters as they unfold in real-time. By automatically tracking sets of custom keywords found in tweets and building relationships among them, the system creates content that can be analyzed to provide disaster recovery decision-makers with critical information. CrisisTracker was piloted in collaboration with IBM during the recovery stages of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeastern United States
  • Students for a Smarter Planet – Designed to involve students in creating projects that benefit communities, Students for a Smarter Planet was launched in 2011 as a coalition of local, student-led organizations and individuals who collaborate with other student groups, professionals and policy makers to develop and implement innovative solutions with a positive impact. In 2012, student projects included the development of a smart classroom at the University of Colima in Mexico and a solar-powered safety zone at North Carolina State University.