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IBM Wants to Train 2M Students for AI Careers in 3 Years

Intending to upskill more students in artificial intelligence to address anticipated workforce demands, the tech giant is adding new AI courses and resources to a free education program called IBM SkillsBuild.

Closeup of the IBM logo in blue on a white background on the side of a building.
IBM is planning to train 2 million learners in artificial intelligence by 2026 in an effort to help close the global AI skills gap.

According to a recent news release, IBM is expanding AI education and training partnerships with universities globally, with a focus on training people currently underrepresented in the field. The announcement said that IBM will also put new generative AI course material on IBM SkillsBuild, a free education program for adult learners as well as high school and university students.

Citing a recent survey of 3,000 C-suite executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value that estimated 40 percent of their workforces would need to reskill over the next three years, the announcement said generative AI is creating a demand for new roles and skills.

“AI skills will be essential to tomorrow’s workforce,” Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM’s vice president and chief impact officer, said in a public statement. “That’s why we are investing in AI training, with a commitment to reach 2 million learners in three years, and expanding IBM SkillsBuild to collaborate with universities and nonprofits on new generative AI education for learners all over the world.”

According to the announcement, the program will give university faculty access to IBM-led training resources, including lectures, classroom materials and opportunities to earn certificates. It added that IBM will also provide free online courses for students in generative AI and Red Hat open-source technologies.

IBM SkillsBuild had already offered free coursework in AI fundamentals, chatbots and AI ethics, but it’s adding more in subjects such as prompt writing, getting started with machine learning, improving customer service with AI, and generative AI in action. The news release added that AI-enhanced features within the IBM SkillsBuild learning platform will include chatbot improvements to assist learners throughout their courses, as well as “learning paths” tailored to each student.

The announcement further noted that this new effort will build on IBM’s prior commitment to upskill 30 million people for tech jobs by 2030, adding that since 2021, over 7 million learners have enrolled in IBM upskilling courses.