IBM Addresses Sustainability Skills Gap with Free Training for Vulnerable Communities
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As vulnerable communities worldwide continue to suffer outsized effects of climate change, IBM is empowering innovators with cutting-edge technologies and training. Ahead of COP28, IBM announced the latest investments in its effort to advance environmental sustainability through its social impact programs. A new set of environmental initiatives pioneering water solutions will be scaled through the IBM Sustainability Accelerator to benefit local communities across the globe. Simultaneously, a first-of-its-kind roadmap of sustainability skills courses, available for free through IBM SkillsBuild, will empower future climate action.
“With nearly half of the global population vulnerable to significant environmental distress, new strategies to help create a sustainable future are essential,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Vice President & Chief Impact Officer. “This means scaling solutions to help people immediately, while also cultivating a pipeline of future leaders at the intersection of technology and sustainability across industries.“
New IBM Sustainability Accelerator partners and projects:
IBM is furthering its commitment to sustainable innovation with projects focused on water management solutions as part of its global social impact program, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator. The 2023 IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report identified that 3.3 billion people live in areas vulnerable to significant impacts from climate change1. With a commitment of $30 million worth of technology and services by IBM through the end of 2025, the program is adding five new projects focused on water management, offering IBM technologies, such as watsonx, and an ecosystem of experts.
- The University of Sharjah will build a model and application to monitor and forecast water access conditions in the Middle East and North Africa, to help support communities in arid and semi-arid regions with limited renewable internal freshwater resources.
- The University of Chicago Trust in Delhi will aggregate water quality information in India; build and deploy tools designed to democratize access to water quality information and help improve water resource management for key government and nonprofit organizations.
- The University of Illinois will develop an AI geospatial foundation model to help predict rain fall and flood forecasting in mountain headwaters across the Appalachian Mountains in the U.S.
- Instituto IGUÁ will create a cloud-based platform for sanitation infrastructure planning in Brazil, alongside local utility providers and governments.
- Water Corporation will design a self-administered water quality testing system for Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.
The IBM Sustainability Accelerator program is already supporting communities in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia on sustainable agriculture and clean energy efforts.
New IBM SkillsBuild Sustainability Roadmap
New research from IBM and Morning Consult confirms a growing skills gap in sustainability that poses a threat to the workforce across industries. 71% of business leaders surveyed anticipate their business will emphasize sustainability skills criteria in their hiring in the next two years, with 92% expecting to invest in sustainability training in the next year.
To help build this pipeline of sustainability talent, IBM SkillsBuild is providing free training that connects cutting edge technologies to ecology and climate change. With AI-powered recommendations available for each learner, this interdisciplinary coursework connect topics such as ecology and biodiversity, with technology training in AI and data analytics. This is a comprehensive curriculum to help equip the next generation of leaders with skills for the green economy.
Learners can benefit from a holistic environmental tech training journey from IBM SkillsBuild with digital credentials available each step of the way.
- Introductory courses will help establish a foundation with historical insights and fundamentals to connect sustainability and technology.
- Mid-level offerings in design thinking and green entrepreneurship will encourage learners to grow their skills.
- Advanced coursework will ask learners to apply their skills to sustainability topics across AI, cybersecurity, and ESG reporting.
These offerings build on IBM’s commitment to skill 30 million people by 2030, with a focus on underrepresented communities. Through collaborations across social service, economic development, and vocational organizations, as well as government agencies, and universities, IBM SkillsBuild makes free online learning widely available, to communities that are underrepresented in technology. These include organizations that will help skill women, including mothers returning to the workforce, ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, and refugees.
Read more about the programs here.