On an ordinary fall morning, something extraordinary was transpiring inside NJIT's Campus Center Atrium. There, NJIT administrators, faculty, staff and students joined executives from IBM to launch the new flagship alliance between the university’s Martin Tuchman School of Management (MTSM) and IBM Global University Programs. The partnership, made official on Oct. 19, marks a unique collaboration between the two entities to deliver digital technologies and education to NJIT students through MTSM and its Business Analytics Lab. NJIT is the first university in the United States — and the only university in North America — to adopt the IBM Skills Academy, a key component of IBM Global University Programs.
The initiative is based on the workforce needs of today’s “Business with the Power of STEM” digital economy. Beginning this semester at NJIT, courses are being offered to NJIT students in three career tracks: business intelligence analyst, business process analyst and predictive analyst modeler. Additionally, students along with the nearby community will have access to boot camps and workshops. The technologies will be delivered to NJIT via the IBM Cloud.
“Being the first university to implement the IBM Skills Academy Program aligns with NJIT’s history of engagement with industry, which has resulted in dramatic impacts on economic development and has helped prepare our graduates for uncommon career success,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom to the day’s attendees. “This new partnership between NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management and IBM is the latest opportunity we are seizing upon to provide our students with a workplace advantage by collaborating with industry.”
“IBM is committed to doing our part to expand educational opportunities so more students and professionals can learn the in-demand new collar skills that will help them thrive in today’s marketplace,” noted Naguib Attia, Ph.D., vice president, IBM Global University Programs. “After seeing this program’s success in Africa, we’re excited to be working with NJIT to bring the program to the United States for the first time.”
Participating students will be able to earn industry-recognized digital badges and IBM technology certifications for IBM tools, as well as the academic credits that accompany their classes. This certification and microcredentialing will provide a significant competitive edge and differentiate students during their job searches.
“Clearly, we are in a new era. Companies across all business sectors are looking for people who leverage and integrate fundamental business knowledge with technology skills to achieve success in today’s data-driven world of global business,” remarked MTSM Dean Reggie Caudill during the event. “The Tuchman School is committed to ensuring that all its students are ready to meet the challenges of the business world, understand the technologies and tools required to succeed in business and have the hands-on experience necessary to build their skills and expand their knowledge.”
Plans for the partnership call for eventual expansion beyond the NJIT classroom, making the digital technologies, education and certifications available to working professionals, veterans and other groups.
The day’s proceedings featured a presentation on and demonstration of IBM Watson Cognitive Intelligence and Analytics, and a panel discussion, “A New Era of Business and Management Education: Cognitive Business Intelligence Meets the New Collar Economy,” with insights from President Bloom; Marta I. Riveros, principal, Torres & Wendell, LLC; Jerry Passione, general manager, OpenLab, Juniper Networks; Gary Schneider, vice president of global technical sales, IBM; and Dikasse Zalla ’19, an MTSM student.
Delivering the event’s keynote address was David McQueeney, vice president of corporate technology and community, IBM, who spoke about the revolution and evolution of computing machines and how the world of information technology has progressed to a point where conception to implementation can now be accomplished in months, weeks, even hours, as opposed to decades. This expedited cycle requires a new brand of expertise and relevant programs to populate the vital talent pipeline — programs such as the IBM Skills Academy at NJIT. “It’s clear that there’s a unique spirit and a unique set of capabilities and passion and urgency here [at NJIT] that I rarely see anywhere else in the academic world,” he said.
Rochelle Hendricks, secretary of higher education for the State of New Jersey, perhaps summed up the flagship alliance best. “I’m looking at the future right now. Higher education has to transform, so that we’re preparing our students in real-time to do in-demand jobs with the kinds of skills that business and industry are looking for… So to partner a world-class corporation doing cutting-edge things in a variety of ways with an institution that’s committed to forward thinking and being cutting edge is a natural marriage. In other words, IBM and NJIT: perfect together.”