Economic and workforce development

Share this page

Linked In

The world’s economy has never been more connected or more complex. With the right skills, innovative products and services, and access to markets, individuals and businesses can gain access to unprecedented opportunities. Through educational and economic development programs, IBM is helping to close the gap between “potential” and “success” for young people, small businesses, and military veterans transitioning to civilian careers. Our programs are helping people help themselves by giving them the motivation, training and access they need to prepare for careers, apply their expertise in new ways, and transform their businesses into engines for economic growth.

Transitioning veterans to civilian careers

After three U.S. Army combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, Alex Williams was ready to transition to civilian life. But like so many military veterans, Alex felt culturally disconnected from the business world and wondered how to apply his technical skills, seasoned perspective and commitment to service in a corporate setting. In addition, Alex had joined the Army straight from high school, so he needed to address both the real and perceived gaps between his proven capabilities and his academic qualifications.

In 2015, IBM worked with Alex and more than 150 additional veterans in the U.S., U.K. and Canada through our Veterans Employment Accelerator — part of an IBM Impact Grant portfolio that includes skills and capacity building. Our nonprofit partners Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) co-sponsor this initiative, through which vets receive free training on IBM i2 Analytics software and prepare for the Advanced Data Analyst certification exam.

We at CASY-MSCCN are thrilled to partner with IBM on this project. Not only does the advanced data analyst certification serve as a huge plus on the resumes of those that receive the training, but the high-demand skills they develop help us put them directly into jobs in the fast-growing field of data analytics.

— Dan Kloeppel, Rear Admiral (Ret.), U.S. Navy and Founder, CASY-MSCCN

Training takes place near military bases and in other communities with large populations of veterans, and graduates receive job placement support from Veteran Service Organizations and IBM partners such as Boeing, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and USAA. As part of the program, IBM also donates Kenexa on Cloud software to help our partners gauge the job readiness and career fit of military-to-civilian job seekers. Since Kenexa is used by a wide network of recruiters, our partners’ use of the software results in thousands of job placements for veterans like Alex — who joined IBM after being certified as an Advanced Data Analyst.

Learn about IBM’s recruitment of veterans.

Veterans Employment Accelerator Impact Grant



U.S. and U.K. military veterans trained



Advanced Data Analyst certification rate for trainees



Graduates that IBM and partner companies have hired

Helping young people relate STEM skills to everyday life

IBMer Anneliese Gegenheimer founded the Chicago Student Invention Convention (CSIC) four years ago to encourage public school students in grades K through eight to use their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills to solve real-world problems creatively. In 2015, Anneliese partnered with a nonprofit foundation, recruited three new corporate sponsors and engaged more than 75 additional IBM volunteers as mentors and contest judges to help expand CSIC to 28 schools. Teachers in the program have used IBM Activity Kits to facilitate the innovation process, and IBM Community Grants have enabled CSIC to create additional materials for teachers, students, mentors and others. A White House initiative to promote STEM education recognized CSIC for its innovative, hands-on approach to teaching — an approach that has garnered a satisfaction rating from parents and teachers of greater than 90 percent.

Energizing small businesses

In the United States, small businesses create more than 50 percent of all new jobs each year. That’s why helping them succeed and grow is essential to a healthy economy. IBM’s Supplier Connection program consolidates access to the supply chain spending of more than 30 large businesses to provide a single point of contact for small business engagement with this critical market. The easy-to-use Supplier Connection portal has been instrumental in enabling small businesses to sell their goods and services, and in connecting large companies with innovative and diverse suppliers. Large business supply chain spending with small businesses via Supplier Connection approached $2 billion in 2015. And with each new supply chain connection, smaller businesses become larger and hire new employees.

President Obama greets members of IBM’s Supplier Connection program.