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Insights: IBM Champions New Skills for Post-AI Workplaces

June 10, 2019 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 01, 2020 20:08 PM UTC

Ginni Rometty spoke at CEO Initiative 2019

[MUSIC PLAYING] I've, for a long time said, and I really believe it. The day I will change 100% of jobs. Change. I didn't say replace. I didn't-- Every job. But every job in some way, different degrees, some will be new, but otherwise change. And so, then the most important question becomes, people will talk about privacy and trust, those things. But, boy, I think the other thing is, if you don't feel like you have the skills to participate in this world and work with this, this is a very divisive thing. It means you've got to find a way for everyone to be able to participate. And that the system's got to work for everyone. It means everyone can't have a college degree, because it's moving too fast. If we think everybody's got to be a data scientist and all these things, that's crazy. And so, there's got to be a way for less than four year degrees, to get a huge part of the population participating. And at the other end, there's got to be a way, and we've got something to talk about to retrain. I thought, at that time, as we start to introduce these technologies, it's our responsibility to start to prepare society for them. And one of the ways, is to Alan's point, would be around training. So here, I have all these open jobs. 30,000 jobs open in the United States. And I said, well, what am I going to do? And we started to say, look, yes, we hire lots of PhD's, university graduates. But I need more workforce. And we had coined this idea-- and I keep using the words, I'd like to try it on you, called new collar. The idea was if you could believe in a different paradigm, not white collar, not blue collar, so nothing negative about this. But that you could make a really good living, a career, you did not have to have a four year degree. So I would value your skills over your degree. I would value your skills. I would also believe that there could be new models of education that could get you there. One thing we started with something called pathway to technology, early college, high school. It's a mouthful. P-tech? P-tech. But it's just-- and I don't believe it's my job to replace government or anything like this. I need these workers. I need these employees. And I need society to love these technologies. But you've gone way beyond training your own-- Yes. Oh, yes. Why? [INTERPOSING VOICES] I can come back to my own. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Well, I need more than just even what I have. And so, the idea was to say, let's start to prepare. And we went to high schools. We went to the most disadvantaged high schools that we could find. The first one was here in Brooklyn. This is now seven years and going. So think of a six year high school, would be an easy way to think about it, with a community college. A community college and the high school together. And there is a very distinct formula. The formula is, because I'll come back to-- the most important skill a human centered actually, not the hard technology skills. And align them with a curriculum. Not vocational. A kind of a how do you learn curriculum. Give them internships, mentors, your employees, and a chance at a job. We have watched 100% of kids come through. We're now up to 125,000 kids, almost all first generation. 14 countries, 11 states. And-- How long-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] 400X. Well, you can get through as fast-- six year. You can get through. And the kids actually, the most interesting thing is, many are graduating in four years and four and one half with both their high school degree and their associate degree. And some go the whole six. And ironically, we thought they'd all go to work. About a third are coming right into work. And the others are now going on to their four year degrees. I'm like, that wasn't supposed to work that way. Come on back here. Get back here. Where there's a will, there's a way. There's plenty of ways. And it has been repeatable. So now, it's not just us. We have 500 other companies working with us. [MUSIC PLAYING]