I testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Research and Science Education about IBM’s commitment to address the issue of national decline in math, science and engineering and its implications for America’s labor force. The Subcommittee on Research and Science Education oversees all matters related to science policy and science education. In my remarks, I noted that over the last 20 years IBM has been one of the leading corporate contributors of cash, technology and IT services to non-profit organizations and educational institutions around the world. During that time, IBM’s most effective grants and partnerships have been those that focus on our unique offerings – leveraging our software, hardware, technical services and expertise. In addition, IBM has been most successful when designing initiatives to bring our employees’ skills and experience into the classroom to interact directly with students, teachers and administrators.
Leading examples of IBM’s approach to “smarter education” are our Transition to Teaching program for retiring employees, and our partnership with civic and education leaders to create New York City’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) – an innovative grades nine through 14 institution that confers both the high school diploma and a no-cost associate degree in technology. P-TECH prepares graduates for entry-level positions with IBM and other leading technology companies. More than 100 IBMers are participating in Transition to Teaching, which helps prepare them for a second career teaching math and science. And the P-TECH model has garnered the attention of the White House and of city leaders across the country who seek to replicate the school’s success in their districts.
Education and employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is a vital component of the American economy, and the private sector can play an important role in closing the gap between where we are and where we need to be. Workers in STEM occupations out earn their peers, enjoy long and stable careers, and represent the next generation of global innovators. But our economic growth is threatened by a severe shortage of math and science teachers, and by shortfalls in STEM academic achievement – particularly in historically underrepresented communities already bearing the brunt of tough economic times. The solution lies in a collaborative and multi-faceted approach to improving STEM education at all levels – from replacing retiring math and science teachers, to strengthening the skills of current educators, to forging private sector partnerships with schools and communities to ensure that our students can make the transition from education to industry.
Watch the archived webcast of my House Subcommittee Testimony to learn more about IBM’s commitment to smarter education.
For the second consecutive time, FORTUNE magazine has named IBM as the #1 Global Company for Leaders. As part of our series on IBM Leadership, Senior Vice President for Human Resources Randy MacDonald offers his perspective on why IBM is the best company for leaders.
This honor comes at a time in history where leadership is shifting in every corner of the world – even at IBM, we have just announced a transition of leadership at the top from Sam Palmisano to Ginni Rometty. This year is also an important milestone in IBM’s history – what other company, let alone a tech company – has been around and committed to leadership development for 100 years? (consider the fact that only one percent of large companies make it to the 40-year mark).
We’ve learned that in order to navigate a volatile global business environment over the long term, it’s important to produce new kinds of leaders who can deal with big projects that help society by reducing traffic, improving public health and fighting energy shortages. Such projects test people’s ability to operate in a large, complicated environment. They need to manage relationships with governments, clients, business partners, universities and others both within and outside the company. They need strong collaboration skills to deal with people from different countries and ways of thinking.
In October 2011, 95 IBM mentors met with their protégés at New York’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) for the first time. P-TECH is a new model grades 9 through 14 school located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, and many of its students will be the first in their families to attain the associate degree they’ll receive along with their high school diplomas. It’s going to be a long haul for the ninth graders of P-TECH’s inaugural class, their teachers and their mentors. But if P-TECH’s remarkable 100% attendance rate, the inspired leadership of the school’s principal and teachers, and the dedication of IBM’s volunteer mentors is any indication, those years will be full of promise and reward. IBMer Christine Vu was one of the mentors who visited P-TECH.
Christine’s story: “When I asked my protégé Indica why she enrolled in P-TECH, the most striking thing she said was ‘Other classmates and I would be the first graduating class, and to me I find that to be something big.’ Indica’s words made me think: It is big! Aside from graduating with a high school diploma and an associate degree in technology, Indica will have the opportunity to shape and define what this academic experiment will look like, and help determine whether it can be successful for future students in New York and around the country.
What Indica said also made me wonder what impact I would have as her mentor. I think the act of mentorship is as much about fulfilling the role you wish someone had played in your life when you were younger as it is about giving to others. When I was in high school, I had a challenging and rigorous schedule filled with AP classes and extracurricular activities. But this left little time for me to engage with teachers or other adults on what was happening in the greater society. It seemed like there was no one to challenge my thoughts and ideas, or to help me visualize my future as an adult or as a professional. I ended up forming these impressions through the process of trial and error during college.
While Indica and I are different people from different backgrounds, she has many of the same dreams and goals that I had at her age. Indica wants to learn and to grow, and to be successful in all aspects of her life. After visiting P-TECH, I am confident that Indica will have the lesson plans and resources she’ll need to build up her technical knowledge and skills.
Meanwhile, I plan to be available when Indica has the ‘other’ questions such as ‘How important are internships?’, ‘Why should I vote?’, or ‘Do I really need to spell check?’”
- Watch the CNN Video coverage of the P-TECH Mentor Event
- Visit IBM MentorPlace
- “Volunteerism and Citizenship: One Mentor’s Story” by Ethan McCarty
- “Degrees Remain Elusive for Most Community College Students” by Stanley S. Litow, President, IBM International Foundation
CDC Development Solutions – which leverages public, private and volunteer resources to strengthen the public and private sector entities that drive economic growth in emerging markets – has covered four IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) engagements in its October 2011 Monthly Update. CSC engagements in Curitiba, Brazil; Coimbatore, India; Accra, Ghana; and Rostov, Russia received individual mentions.
In Brazil, IBM volunteers are working with seven different organizations in the areas of public health, economic development, cancer treatment delivery, volunteer services coordination, environmental management, and social media in health care.
CSC volunteers in India are assisting with environmental pollution control, rural education, and delivery of rural eye care services.
In Ghana, the Corporate Service Corps is engaged in efforts to improve the delivery of municipal services, modernizing the governmental tourism agency, improving record keeping for the Association of Ghana Industries, and streamlining the operations of the National Youth Authority.
The South Russian Federation of Credit Unions; a center for nanotechnology, biotechnology, and information technology; and an organization that facilitates the delivery of public services will benefit from IBM Corporate Service Corps involvement in Russia.
Read more in CDC Development Solutions’ October Monthly Update.