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Facing Skilled Worker Shortage, U.S. Companies Try to Train Their Own Labor Pools


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IBM Building in New York City

IBM puts trainees into 25 different programs, from software development to data science.

Credit: Bloomberg

Technology companies are working to address a shortage of qualified talent. IBM, for instance, offers a two-year program for entry-level workers without college degrees, providing classroom instruction and on-the-job training for in-demand positions it has difficulty filling. "Earn-and-learn strategies can open a door for someone into a career quickly," says CompTIA's Amy Kardel.

The IT trade association is working to promote on-the-job learning with the U.S. Department of Labor. Kardel says employers who depend on technology, including manufacturers, retailers, and the government, are competing with Silicon Valley for the same workers.

IBM, which is looking to hire over 400 trainees annually, offers 25 different training tracks, including software development, data science, and human resources. The company retains about 90% of participants. IBM's Kelli Jordan says the company is offering "new-collar jobs," white-collar work that does not require a four-year degree but offers necessary learning on the job.

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