- In an open letter to the nominated secretaries of labor and education shared Jan. 28, IBM asked the Biden administration to consider "new pathways" to careers — including apprenticeships, hybrid education models and public-private partnerships — and "rethink the way we approach education, skills training and hiring in this country."
- IBM also stated a need for a "standard, national infrastructure" upon which workers can share verified, recognized skills with seeking employers. The program, which would allow the job market to function beyond seeking a resume or degree, notably aligns with one of the company's offerings.
- "By expanding pathways to careers for more Americans, modernizing the way we distribute federal student aid, and opening the aperture when it comes to recruiting and hiring for high-skilled careers, we can accelerate economic recovery and ensure American leadership," IBM’s Obed Louissaint, senior vice president, transformation and culture, wrote in the letter.
IBM has been a vocal supporter of employer-led training efforts. The company founded its Pathways for Technology Early College High School or P-TECH program in 2011 as a brick-and-mortar school in Brooklyn and in 2020 created Open P-TECH, a fully-online education resource that leans heavily on industry partners.
"We’re taking a model we know works and doing more early college and more industry involvement … really requiring more on the part of each partner," Cliff Archey, senior program manager of education at IBM, previously told HR Dive.
Particularly in the wake of a tumultuous year, employers leaned on partnerships — as stated in the open letter — to further social responsibility initiatives, including the upskilling of various underserved communities. Decision-makers in a February 2020 Chamber of Commerce Foundation survey said they valued working with higher education institutions to ensure what is taught aligns with what is needed in the job market and said that partnering with educational programs would be the key to the future of work.
But another trend that IBM noted in its open letter may continue in the wake of pandemic’s many disruptions: the fall of the college degree as the gold standard. Already, some hiring managers rank skills over degrees, according to the Foundation study. Large tech companies such as Infosys have said they will consider "individuals without traditional four-year degrees" in their hiring decisions, too.