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IBM Expands “New Collar” Programs into France

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P-TECH schools, new digital SkillsBuild platform and modern apprenticeships provide opportunities to French workers in the era of hybrid cloud, digital and AI

IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced plans to expand its global “New Collar” programs into France as part of a commitment to help prepare the French workforce for the business and social transformation being driven by hybrid cloud, digital and AI technologies.

These plans include:

  • The launch of the very first P-TECH schools in France, to provide technical and professional educational opportunities to young people, primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • A new digital SkillsBuild platform to help the unemployed and those changing careers develop the technical and professional skills needed to re-enter the workforce; and
  • New commitments to apprenticeship programs, including participation in the OpenClassrooms initiative.

The announcement was made during President Macron’s “Tech for Good” Summit in Paris, where IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty is leading an education working group.

“We know that AI, like other transformative technologies before it, will have a profound impact on peoples’ jobs and the workplace. That is why IBM is leading the way in expanding the pathways through which students and professionals can build skills for today’s technology era,” said Rometty. “Through groundbreaking education programs like P-TECH – which we are proud to expand in France – we can ensure that no one is left behind in the digital age.”

IBM has been making investments and partnering with governments, educational institutions and businesses around the world to equip the global workforce for emerging “New Collar Jobs”, which are jobs that require specialist technical skills, but not always a traditional university degree. IBM’s “New Collar” program is the largest global initiative of its kind, with 200 P-TECH schools serving 125,000 students across 13 countries, including France, when the current school year starts.

Following the “Tech for Good” Summit, Rometty delivers the opening keynote at Viva Technology 2019 on the next chapter of digital transformation for business.  During her keynote, she will share how businesses can accelerate their transformations by moving mission-critical work to the hybrid cloud and by scaling AI throughout the enterprise, driving innovation while earning the trust of society.

Launch of P-TECH Education Initiative in France

In partnership with the French Ministry for Education, BNP Paribas and Orange, IBM announced the introduction of P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), a pioneering education initiative in France.

Starting in September, the Lycée La Tournelle (La Garenne-Colombes) and the Lycée Edmond Labbé, (Douai) will introduce P-TECH classes, designed to provide relevant technical and professional education opportunities to young people from primarily disadvantaged backgrounds.

P-TECH was created by IBM in 2011 to open new pathways, by creating a direct connection between secondary school or lycée, college and career. The objective is to help students graduate with a secondary school diploma and then an associate degree aligned to industry needs, through workplace experiences, including mentorship and internships. The French P-TECH model is based on a close collaboration between the French Ministry of Education, French secondary schools and partner companies. They are working together to provide individual and long-term support to students from their first year of lycée to their last year of college. Students who have completed this program will then be able to choose to continue their studies or to start working.

Launch of SkillsBuild to give digital skills to the unemployed and those changing careers

IBM is also launching SkillsBuild, a new digital platform, which provides job seekers –including those returning to work after leave, the long-term unemployed, migrants, veterans and those changing professions –with the digital content, personalized coaching and experiential learning they need to gain technical and professional skills required to re-enter the workforce.

The first deployment of the program will be introduced in partnership with NGOs and non-profits, including  Aurore, Emmaüs France, Fondation Agir Contre l’Exclusion, Fondation des Apprentis d’Auteuil, and Institut de l’Engagement.

Following its launch in France, the program will expand to Germany and the UK in the second half of 2019, before its global roll-out.

Participation in the first OpenClassrooms on-line apprenticeship program and a commitment to provide resources and volunteers to help increase participation in science and technology at schools

IBM will contribute to the pioneering OpenClassrooms apprenticeship initiative with a commitment to hire apprentices and to contribute hands-on projects and mentorship to the program.

In addition, IBM along with Accenture, Airbus, Engie, Sanofi and Thalès, has signed a “Declaration for Sciences and Technology at School”, with a commitment to encourage employees to volunteer in schools, to provide support to students and teachers, and to provide technology resources in support of volunteers from all companies.

The first program identified for support by IBM will be “Yes we code!” in partnership with the Fondation CGenial.

IBM investing in France

In addition to these “New Collar” programs, IBM recommitted to investments to support business and societal transformation in France, including new regional centers with public and private partners:

  • In 2018, IBM announced it would create 1,800 new jobs in AI, blockchain and IoT, critical areas for growth in France. A year later, more than 1,000 positions have been filled, and IBM is on track to fill remaining positions.
  • IBM also announced progress in the introduction of the IBM France Academy, to train IBM France employees, clients and partners to build modern workforce skills.  Developers from  La Banque Postale (ZAcademy) and RtimX (SNCF subsidiary) have been some of the first to go through the training.
  • In January 2018, IBM opened a new Security Operation Center (SOC) in Lille, to help French companies from across the country.  Since January of 2018 there have been over 100 billion security events captured in the center.  The new center is a 24/7 operation driving security incident simulation and supporting IBM clients.
  • In September 2018, IBM created the IBM Q Hub (quantum centre) in Montpellier for research and development on quantum computing, based on a partnership project with the Université de Montpellier and supported by the Région Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée. The new team working in the IBM Q Hub provide worldwide support for the open source software platform Qiskit.
  • On April 8, 2019, IBM inaugurated IBM Paris-Saclay, and announced the opening of a co-innovation centre within the next two years.  IBM Paris-Saclay is a first step to accelerate IBM’s collaboration with public and private partners, such as Guerbet, whose AI team will regularly come to the new site to work on the “Liver Care Advisor” project supporting the diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer.


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