As IBM endeavors to improve the social and commercial systems that support our world, we understand the importance of working collaboratively across all of civil society—with lawmakers, regulators, public officials and civic leaders.
Through this collaboration we contribute our expertise, experience and perspective on some of the most urgent issues facing the world today.
One such issue is the worldwide shortage of graduates prepared for careers in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM). The flow of high-skilled workers from nation to nation is one response to the STEM shortage; however, caps and other restrictions have limited the movement of talent even if a sufficient supply existed.
And so, many countries are now developing reforms to improve their global competitiveness:
- OECD countries have sought improvements in curriculum, teaching skills, use of metrics and other key reforms.
- The government of China put forward a new law on vocational education and regulations concerning the management of institutions of higher learning.
- India has amended its constitution to guarantee a fundamental right to education and enacted legislation regarding free and compulsory education.
IBM is focused on addressing these problems by encouraging action on the part of states, localities and the US Congress. We are working to drive education reform, workforce training and immigration/migration legislation and policy, and have used our localized efforts (for example, Pathways in Technology Early College High School or P-TECH) to develop recommendations and demonstrate educational approaches.
To scale up these local initiatives, IBM is working with its US congressional delegations, other employers and trade associations to seek improvements in career and technical education (CTE) programs—in particular, the Carl D. Perkins Act. In the United States, CTE programs—once called vocational education—creates a link between school and career. While federal funding under the Carl D. Perkins Act provides more than $1 billion to schools, IBM is seeking reforms that would:
- Better align with labor-market needs in high-growth industry sectors.
- Improve CTE programs with strong collaboration among secondary and post-secondary institutions and employers.
- Create accountability measures that provide common definitions and clear metrics for performance of CTE programs in order to improve academic outcomes while building the technical skills and employability of participants.