Why IBM loves community college grads

As technology reshapes the nature of work, IBM is prioritizing recruiting professionals with in-demand technology skills over traditional credentials, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty writes for USA Today.

The skills gap is the widest it's been in a decade and more than half a million positions in technology sectors remain unfilled, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unfortunately, one-third of tech experts say they have "no confidence" that education and job training will evolve quickly enough to meet labor market demands, according to a report by Pew Research Center.

To address the shortage of tech workers, IBM is recruiting talent from non-traditional education backgrounds, Ruth Umoh reports for CNBC.

Not all of IBM's open positions require a four-year degree, according to Rometty.  Instead, the firm is recruiting candidates with relevant skills or hands-on experience, she adds.

How community colleges can help close the skills gap

To be competitive without a four-year degree, professionals should have vocational experience, says Joanna Daly, IBM's vice president of talent. By broadening the talent pool, firms can attract community college students, veterans, or professionals reentering the workforce, Daly says. 

To train students for these "new collar" jobs, IBM has established a six-year public high school where students engage in traditional curriculum and community college job training, Rometty writes. In addition, the firm plans to partner with community colleges across the United States to prepare more students for these new career opportunities, Umoh reports (Umoh, CNBC, 11/13; Rometty, USA Today, 11/13).

Related: How you can make program choices based on market demand

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