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IBM wants to help people ‘reimagine the resume’

A letter to the U.S. secretaries of Education and Labor suggests allowing federal funds to be used for skills education.

IBM wants to help people ‘reimagine the resume’

IBM's letter details working with the new administration to give Americans more pathways to skills-based careers, expanding access to federal student aid and creating a national credentialing system to reimagine the resume.

Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Global tech giant IBM published a letter Thursday to the U.S. secretaries of Education and Labor with ideas and policy recommendations on how the country can lead in education and build a more equitable economy.

IBM's letter proposes collaboration with the new administration to give Americans more pathways to skills-based careers, expand access to federal student aid and create a national credentialing system — using blockchain — to reimagine the resume.

The shift to online learning disrupted 77 million students in the U.S. And with nearly 70% of Americans without a bachelor's degree, which often means their work can't be performed from home, the economy tanked as businesses were forced to shut down. "When we look at the unemployment rate and we juxtaposed that with the number of opportunities that remain open because of the need for specific of type of skills, we see that as a paradox and challenge that we need to overcome," said Obed Louissaint, IBM's SVP for transformation and culture.

Outside the traditional forms of demonstrating job qualifications to future employers through a resume or a degree, there is no standard way to prove job readiness. But Louissaint explained that "new-collar jobs" would require in-demand skills, rather than a college degree, and would eliminate bachelor's degree requirements for more than half of U.S. job openings. By modernizing the Higher Education Act and working with policymakers; allowing federal student loans to be used for apprenticeships, certificate programs or other mid-career training; and removing restrictions on student use of federal work-study funds for off-campus work experiences like internships at companies, students could build career-relevant skills, Louissaint said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the technology sector accounts for 10% of U.S. GDP and is the fastest-growing segment of the American economy. But there are not enough skilled workers to fill the 500,000 open high-tech jobs in the U.S. And in the Consumer Technology Association's Future of Work survey, tech executives report that by 2025, they will struggle to fill jobs in software development, data analytics and engineering.

If the new administration partners with the private sector, the $130 billion provided in federal student aid to undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher could be redirected toward part-time students and mid-career professionals, used to fund Pell Grants and similar financial assistance for apprenticeships or internships. IBM also suggests allowing federal funds to be used for skills education and removing restrictions so that students can use federal work-study funds for other off-campus work experiences.

"By taking investments that are already being made in things like Pell Grants or federal loans, and redirecting them into things like apprenticeships, it enables individuals to have access to well-paying jobs," Louissaint said. "And by thinking differently about the resume, government and academia can set a real standard for what are credentials for a skill-first economy."

By working with the government, IBM aims to set a standard and national infrastructure that job applicants and potential employers can reference. But what would that look like?

"We would love to see state governments play a much more active role, rather than funds being restricted to local districts where only students in wealthier areas will benefit," Louissaint said. "And by way of the federal government, we can really lean in to use these funds in different types of ways to complement skill-building in this country."

Protocol | Workplace

The pay gap persists for Black women

"The pay gap is a multifaceted problem and any time you have a complex problem, there's not a single solution that's going to solve it."

For every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, Black women are paid just 63 cents, according to the American Community Survey Census data.

Photo: Christine/Unsplash

Last year's racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd led many tech companies to commit to promoting equity within their organizations, including working toward pay equity. But despite efforts, the wage gap for Black women still persists. For every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, Black women are paid just 63 cents, according to the American Community Survey Census data.

Black Women's Equal Pay Day on Tuesday represents the estimated number of days into the year it would take for Black women to make what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts made at the end of the previous year, according to the organization Equal Pay Today. And while the responsibility to fix the pay gap falls mostly on companies to rectify, some female employees have taken matters into their own hands and held companies to their asserted values by negotiating higher pay.

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Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

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What comes to mind when you think of AI? In the past, it might have been the Turing test, a sci-fi character or IBM's Deep Blue-defeating chess champion Garry Kasparov. Today, instead of copying human intelligence, we're seeing immense progress made in using AI to unobtrusively simplify and enrich our own intelligence and experiences. Natural language processing, modern encrypted security solutions, advanced perception and imaging capabilities, next-generation data management and logistics, and automotive assistance are some of the many ways AI is quietly yet unmistakably driving some of the latest advancements inside our phones, PCs, cars and other crucial 21st century devices. And the combination of 5G and AI is enabling a world with distributed intelligence where AI processing is happening on devices and in the cloud.

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Alex Katouzian
Alex Katouzian currently serves as senior vice president and general manager of the Mobile, Compute and Infrastructure (MCI) Business Unit at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. In this role, Katouzian is responsible for the profit, loss and strategy of the MCI BU, which includes business lines for Mobile Handset Products and Application Processor Technologies, 4G and 5G Mobile Broadband for embedded applications, Small and Macro Cells, Modem Technologies, Compute products across multiple OS’, eXtended Reality and AI Edge Cloud products.
Protocol | Workplace

Tech company hybrid work policies are becoming more flexible, not less

Twitter, LinkedIn and Asana are already changing their hybrid policies to allow for more flexibility.

Photo: FG Trade/Getty Images

Twitter, LinkedIn and Asana are all loosening up their strategies around hybrid work, allowing for more flexibility before even fully reopening their offices.

In the last week and a half, Twitter announced it's adopting an asynchronous-first approach, and both Asana and LinkedIn said they would increase the amount of time their employees can work remotely.

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Allison Levitsky
Allison Levitsky is a reporter at Protocol covering workplace issues in tech. She previously covered big tech companies and the tech workforce for the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Allison grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley.
Power

Activision Blizzard scrambles to repair its toxic image

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack is the first executive to depart amid the sexual harassment crisis.

Activision Blizzard doesn't seem committed to lasting change.

Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images

As Activision Blizzard's workplace crisis rages on into its third week, the company is taking measures to try to calm the storm — to little avail. On Tuesday, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, who took the reins at the developer responsible for World of Warcraft back in 2018, resigned. He's to be replaced by executives Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who will co-lead the studio in a power-sharing agreement some believe further solidifies CEO Bobby Kotick's control over the subsidiary.

Nowhere in Blizzard's statement about Brack's departure does it mention California's explosive sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit at the heart of the saga. The lawsuit, filed last month, resulted last week in a 500-person walkout at Blizzard's headquarters in Irvine. (Among the attendees was none other than Ybarra, the new studio co-head.)

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Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.
Protocol | Workplace

Alabama Amazon workers will likely get a second union vote

An NLRB judge said that Amazon "usurped" the NLRB by pushing for a mailbox to be installed in front of its facility, and also that the company violated laws that protect workers from monitoring of their behavior during union elections.

An NLRB judge ruled that Amazon has violated union election rules

Image: Amazon

Bessemer, Alabama warehouse workers will likely get a second union vote because of Amazon's efforts to have a USPS ballot box installed just outside of the Bessemer warehouse facility during the mail-in vote, as well as other violations of union vote rules, according to an NLRB ruling published Tuesday morning.

While union organizers, represented by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, lost the first vote by more than a 2:1 margin, a second election will be scheduled and held unless Amazon successfully appeals the ruling. Though Amazon is the country's second-largest private employer, no unionization effort at the company has ever been successful.

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Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

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