IBM will work with Wake Tech Community College and several other colleges across the country to offer training for what Big Blue is calling “new collar” jobs.

The program will focus on curricula development for “next generation” information technology jobs, IBM says. The company also plans to offer internships and apprenticeships as part of the program.

Big Blue, which operates one of its largest corporate campuses in Research Triangle Park and employees several thousand people across North Carolina, says the Wake Tech effort will focus on IT training for:

  • Cloud
  • Data science
  • Cybersecurity

as well as others.

IBM operates one of its newest cloud data centers in RTP.

The IBM partnership was advocated by Tom Looney, a long-time IBM and Lenovo executive, a Wake Tech executive tells WRAL TechWire. He also is spearheading efforts to place Wake Tech students in paid internship positions at Triangle tech companies such as Lenovo. Looney, the chair of the Wake Tech Board of Trustees, retired from Lenovo in 2014 as North America Sales Vice President and also championed the cause of returning PC manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Lenovo responded by setting up a PC manufacturing line in the Triad.

“IBM has had real success tapping into a talent pool that doesn’t have traditional degrees. Last year alone, these New Collar professionals accounted for around 15 percent of our U.S. hiring,” said Sam Ladah, IBM’s vice president of talent, in announcing the community college effort. “We’re delighted to be providing more community college students with access to emerging technologies at the forefront of our industry, as well as hands-on exposure to New Collar career paths. Our goal is to make the IT industry more inclusive by helping a more diverse set of candidates understand that if they have the right skills, there’s an opportunity for them at today’s IBM.”

IBM plans to work with more than a dozen community colleges around the country that are located near major IBM facilities.

“In these well-paying roles, in-demand technology skills are valued more than credentials, and a traditional four-year college degree may not always be required,” IBM noted.

“In addition to collaborating on curricula design for next generation IT skills, IBM will work with community colleges near its major U.S. facilities to offer more local students the opportunity to participate in internships and apprenticeships within the company, as well as direct hiring for IBM careers.”

Learn more about the IBM program at: