All across the nation there has been a surge of interest in career and technical education programs brought on by the pressing need to connect youth with meaningful career readiness opportunities. The recent TIME Magazine cover story on IBM’s P-TECH-model schools in Chicago and New York is the latest example of America’s growing interest in innovative partnerships that bridge the divide between the classroom and world of work. Many employers, like IBM, are stepping up their engagement with schools to help prepare students for the modern economy. The time is right for Congress to act in kind and to support the reauthorization and modernization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
The Perkins Act is widely recognized as an important resource in helping connect the education system to the needs of the business community. If employers throughout the U.S. are to maintain their economic competitiveness, it will be through programs like the Perkins Act that help build the skills employers need to grow. The Perkins Act dates to 1988 and provides over $1 billion in federal funding to states to support career and technical education programs in high schools, community colleges, and related institutions across the country. While the Perkins Act has made important contributions to supporting career readiness, closing the ever-widening skills gap requires a renewed emphasis on career preparation programs and a rethinking of priorities moving forward.
Today’s TIME Magazine cover story on IBM’s P-TECH-model school in Chicago is an across-the-board validation of everything that we and our partners in education and government are working to achieve:
- Transforming America’s approach to education and employment through innovation
- Contributing time, technology and expertise (not just cash) to affect meaningful and sustainable change
- Placing the needs of our clients – young people anxious to learn and succeed – first
The story of Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy on Chicago’s South Side, and the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, New York is the story of a groundswell movement to break the cycle of poverty, rescue a generation (and a nation) from an uncertain future, and blaze a pathway to success that others can follow.
At IBM, the practice of corporate citizenship is fully integrated into our overall business strategy. This integration enables IBM – and IBMers – to affect meaningful and sustainable change for our citizenship clients. In this second installment of our series on the practice of corporate citizenship, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager Pamela Haas details the importance of putting the client first in non-profit engagements.
IBM’s first corporate value – “Dedication to every client’s success” – applies equally to our non-profit and for-profit customers. Given our integration of corporate citizenship initiatives with overall business strategy, this makes perfect sense. Treating non-profit and for-profit clients with equal care and concern also makes sense in a world where corporate executives and decision makers serve on the boards of non-profit organizations. Whether for-profit or non-profit, clients can count on IBM to put their concerns first.
Our for-profit clients often connect with us when they’re being honored for their contributions to non-profit causes. While the special events to recognize these contributions can be important networking opportunities, they also get us thinking about how we might serve our non-profit clients better. For example, what if a nonprofit’s strategic mission complements an IBM program or initiative? In those instances, we have discovered that our contributions of time, technology and expertise can be far more effective than so-called “checkbook philanthropy” when it comes to bringing about real and sustainable change. This is particularly true in an age when nonprofits are called upon to accomplish more with
fewer resources, and to do so with operational efficiencies traditionally associated with
The practice of corporate citizenship can take varying forms at different organizations. At IBM, corporate citizenship is fully integrated into the company’s overall business strategy. This integration enables IBM – and IBMers – to affect meaningful and sustainable change for our citizenship clients. In the first of a series of articles on the practice of corporate citizenship, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Director for the Americas Doris González outlines the critical role of the corporate citizenship manager as influencer, partner and IBM brand ambassador to public and private sector entities working to build
a smarter planet.
Though it first emerged in the 1960s, the field of corporate citizenship or corporate responsibility began to get mainstream acceptance in the 1990s as the “new big idea in the business world.” Over the years, corporate citizenship has continued to evolve and mature into a field with great career opportunities, representing the face – and heart – of
At IBM, social responsibility has been built into the very fabric of the company since it was founded more than a century ago. As the practice of corporate citizenship has evolved, the role of the corporate citizenship manager also has progressed from overseeing the disbursement of cash grants to developing strategies to apply IBM’s best talent and technology to solving the world’s toughest societal issues in such areas as education, global health, literacy, economic development and environmental sustainability. Business and citizenship strategies must be aligned to be sustainable. As part of that strategic alignment, we focus our resources on specific efforts to help educators and school systems, nonprofit organizations and cities succeed. In the process, we develop leadership and collaboration skills among our employees, and open new markets to our business.
In his recent State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that New York State “is in the midst of an education reinvention” that is part of an overall strategy for “Rebuilding New York.” A critical part of that reinvention will be New York’s expansion of the P-TECH grades 9 – 14 schools model to include 10 additional schools – one in each of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council areas. These 10 new P-TECH schools will join the 16 schools that already are in development across the state.
Through rigorous academics and career-relevant curricula, P-TECH-model schools in
New York City and Chicago are showing results even before their first classes graduate. President Obama’s October 2013 visit to Brooklyn P-TECH – and the White House’s earmarking $100 million for national expansion of the model– underscored the importance of the P-TECH movement and the need to close America’s skills gap by connecting education to jobs nationwide.
I recently had the privilege of visiting the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy on the south side of Chicago. Sarah Goode is a grades 9 through 14 P-TECH-model school that prepares students with the academic background and workplace skills they’ll need to enter industry or continue their educations. One of the most popular sayings at the school is “We Are Innovators!” I couldn’t agree more. But while innovation is pervasive at Goode, there also are invigorating doses of optimism and excitement among the students, staff and community. Educators and employers working together to connect training more directly to jobs is an idea whose time has come, and we should all be proud of what IBM, the Chicago Public Schools and Richard J. Daley College of the City Colleges of Chicago have accomplished – as well as the opportunities that lie ahead for Goode’s students.
I’d like to thank the dedicated IBMers who helped with my visit and who are critical to the success of Sarah Goode. These subject matter experts – along with the Chicago area IBMers who volunteer their time to mentor every student at the school – work tirelessly to serve the community through this program. They are wonderful representatives of the IBM company, and personify our company’s longstanding culture of service. IBM’s P-TECH-model schools in Chicago and New York are deservedly getting lots of good press, but it’s those who volunteer their time and expertise who help translate visions and ideas into positive outcomes that make our world a better place.
The concepts of philanthropy and corporate giving have evolved over the years from localized donations by individuals of great wealth to “strategic” corporate giving to today’s progressive practice of creating sustainable value across the globe. IBM has pioneered numerous corporate social responsibility (CSR) innovations that emphasize the sharing of technologies and expertise to address challenges faced by cities, by developing regions,
by those seeking a way out of poverty through education and training, and by humanitarian researchers searching for everything from solutions to environmental issues to cures
In my recent conversation with the Chinese-language edition of the Harvard Business Review, I discussed the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge engagement in New Taipei City as
an example of how my company integrates corporate citizenship with business strategy to build relationships and new leaders while addressing societal problems around the world.
At IBM, we believe that innovation in corporate social responsibility holds the key to benefiting our enterprise and employees as we build a smarter planet.
Louise Davis is the IBM Growth Markets Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Executive for Asia Pacific.
On Tuesday, November 19, I testified before the full U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee on the importance of improving the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs. This is the major source of federal support in the U.S. for career and technical education (CTE).
You can contribute to the ongoing conversation on this topic by using hashtag #perkinsIBM.
Just days before today’s conference in North Carolina about giving all high schoolers early access to college and skills and a pathway to careers, President Obama gave the concept a boost by visiting a school in New York City that epitomizes the positive aspects of the “early college” movement but also advances the model. When I talk to 500 educators, policymakers and educators today at the National Early College Conference, co-hosted by Jobs for the Future and North Carolina New Schools, I will explain why this innovative education model has captured so much interest and why it takes the promising model of early college to the next level.
Catch the livestream of my talk today at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, and read my op-ed in today’s Raleigh News & Observer about this important issue.
Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation. Mr. Litow is a former Deputy Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools.
I was raised by a single mother whose basketball dreams were cut short when she got pregnant with me at age 16 and dropped out of high school. As a senior attending Jasper County High School in Ridgeland, South Carolina 27 years ago, I entered and won an essay writing contest responding to the question, “Is the United States Ready for a Black President?” I wrote that essay while living in the area called, Wagon Branch that you will not even find on a South Carolina map. My life is an incredible journey enhanced by the foundations of public Head Start and public schools from pre-K through grade 12, and is proof that the zip code where you reside as a secondary student does not have to ultimately predict your place in the world.
It’s impossible to overstate how thrilled we were to have President Obama visit P-TECH. Of course, the students, faculty and I had been delighted when the President called us out in his State of the Union address – saying that our country needed to give every student the types of opportunities found at P-TECH – but to visit us in person…Wow!
What really moved me was the effect Mr. Obama had on my students. These are young people from all over New York City who have come to P-TECH in search of a better education and a better life. Our school is open admissions; we don’t “cherry pick” our students. All that’s required of them is interest, drive and the willingness to work hard to achieve their goals. For many of them, that means breaking free of generations of poverty, walking away from the patterns of failure that plague their contemporaries, and becoming the first members of their families to obtain a postsecondary degree.