Monday, July 2, 2007

IBM: Willing to Teach - Filling the Breach

Tech companies have long bemoaned the shortage of U.S. math and science teachers. Now, IBM hopes to encourage some veteran employees to step into the breach. On Sept. 16, IBM said it would help selected departing workers become certified teachers. Employees with 10 years of experience and a math or science degree will be able to take teacher certification courses while still working for IBM. They will take a leave of absence to complete up to three months of student teaching. IBM will give each of them up to $15,000 to cover course costs and missed salary. Finally, it will help place departing workers in teaching jobs.

Most participants are likely to be in their early-to-mid 50s, when many retire from IBM and are interested in launching a second career. They'll take a pay cut to teach, although an IBM pension and other retirement savings will help ease the financial burden for some participants.
100 IBM employees, mostly from New York and North Carolina, will take part in the program.

If it works well, "our intention is to expand," says Stanley Litow, Vice-President for IBM Corporate Community Relations. That could mean hundreds of teachers from IBM's 160,000 U.S. workers.

IBM can't plug the shortage of 250,000 math and science teachers by itself but education officials, such as Joel Klein, Chancellor of New York City Public Schools, are ready to welcome these teachers with “open arms”.

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