IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that it has extended its IBM Global University Program with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to 40 schools.
IBM is now working with the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE), 100 Black Men of America, Inc., Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to better prepare HBCU students for in-demand jobs in the digital economy.
In parallel, the IBM Institute for Business Value released a new report with broad-ranging recommendations on how businesses can cultivate more diverse, inclusive workforces by establishing similar programs and deepening engagement with HBCUs.
IBM’s HBCU program momentum has been strong in an environment where only 43% of leaders across industry and academia believe higher education prepares students with necessary workforce skills.* In September 2020, IBM announced the investment of $100 million in assets, technology and resources to HBCUs across the United States. Through IBM Global University Programs, which include the continuously enhanced IBM Academic Initiative and IBM Skills Academy, IBM has now:
- Distributed no-charge access to cloud, AI and quantum computing software, courseware, tutorials and over 330 university guest lecturers across 40 HBCUs.
- Trained over 247 HBCU faculty in AI, blockchain, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, design thinking, Internet of Things and quantum computing.
- Awarded 15 students from nine HBCUs with inaugural IBM Masters Fellowship Awards to help progress their work in disruptive technologies, regardless of their field of study.
Building on this work, IBM and key HBCU ecosystem partners are now collaborating to expedite faculty and student access and use of IBM’s industry resources.
- American Association of Blacks in Higher Education is involved in numerous initiatives such as addressing the pipeline of Black faculty and staff in higher education, bringing issues pertinent to Black faculty and staff to the attention of the larger academic community and recognizing African American achievements and accomplishments to higher education. Through this new collaboration with IBM, AABHE members can access industry resources at no cost to help remove gaps in some of the most in-demand skills areas.
- Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to expand corporate and government alliances with the 15 ABET-accredited HBCU Schools of Engineering to implement and support programs to attract, educate, graduate and place underrepresented minority students in engineering and computer science careers. IBM Global University Programs like the IBM Academic Initiative and the IBM Skills Academy provide access, assets and opportunities for AMIE’s HBCU faculty and students to gain high-demand skills in areas like AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, quantum computing and cloud computing.
- 100 Black Men of America, Inc. is collaborating with IBM across its 102 U.S. and international chapters to enable leaders and mentors to introduce students to resources they may not be aware they have access to for developing crucial skills in high-demand areas.
- United Negro College Fund will collaborate with IBM to help students maximize their potential by growing their awareness of industry opportunities for in-demand skills and by providing access to no-cost resources businesses use daily so students can pursue those skills for their 37 members.
In its new report, “Investing in Black Technical Talent: The Power of Partnering with HBCUs,” IBM describes how HBCUs succeed in realizing their mission and innovate to produce an exceptional talent pipeline, despite serious funding challenges. IBM explains its approach to broad-based HBCU collaboration with a series of best-practices for industry organizations.
IBM’s series of best practices include:
- Identify the schools that make the right fit
- Define your strategy and commit to it for the long term
- Get support from the top
- Keep a partner mindset
- Define shared metrics for success
- Evaluate, improve and repeat
To download the full report, please visit: LINK.
HBCU students continue to engage with IBM on a wide range of opportunities. These include students taking artificial intelligence, cybersecurity or cloud e-learning courses and receiving a foundational industry badge certificate in four hours. Many also attend IBM’s virtual student Wednesday seminars with leading experts, such as IBM neuroscientists who discuss the implications of ethics in neurotechnology.