YSU and IBM Launch IT Skills and Apprenticeship Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Youngstown State University and IBM today announced the launch of the YSU IT Workforce Accelerator designed to provide students and the local workforce with skills needed for high-tech jobs in the growing digital economy. 

The IBM-designed initiative will provide pre-apprenticeship training and apprenticeship program enablement so that local companies can train area workers in fields ranging from software engineering and data science to analytics, cybersecurity and mainframe systems administration. The program is intended to make more area candidates apprenticeship-ready and accelerate their progress to promising careers. 

The use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, data science and security is rapidly growing. AI alone is expected to create more than 130 million new jobs by 2022, states “The Future of Jobs Report 2018,” published by the World Economic Forum. A large portion of these are and will be in-demand “new collar” jobs that require in-demand skills, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree in technology related fields or a previous career in technology.

To keep pace with innovation, close to 12 million workers in the U.S. may need to be retrained or reskilled because of AI and intelligent automation in the next three years, according to IBM Institute of Business Value, “The Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap,” published in September.

“As the region’s leader in post-secondary education, YSU is thrilled to partner with IBM to provide greater access to skills and training in the tech industry,” said Brien Smith, YSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Expanding pathways to technology-oriented careers will build a lasting channel to grow the IT workforce over the long-term.”

The new IT Workforce Accelerator will bring together local employers, workforce intermediaries and other partners interested in implementing and supporting apprenticeship programs and job opportunities. YSU will serve as a registered apprenticeship program sponsor and help local companies access apprenticeship training and incentives. The university also will provide administrative support to employers looking to hire apprentices. 

Apprenticeship opportunities will be available for students in degree and non-degree education tracks. IBM will provide education and enablement support to the Accelerator and member businesses, drawing on its own experience launching a rapidly expanding new collar apprenticeship program. Established in 2017 and registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, IBM’s apprenticeship program grew twice as expected in its first year and today serves as the foundation of a national coalition that will create thousands of apprenticeship opportunities in communities coast to coast. 

“Skills are the new currency, and we need to fully equip our current and future workforce with the right skills to participate in the digital economy,” said Jennifer Oddo, New Collar Apprenticeship Program Manager. “Together with Youngstown State University and a nationwide network of business and academic partners, IBM is committed to helping American students and workers build in-demand skills both in and beyond traditional degree programs.”

SOURCE: YSU News Center.

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