Submitted by IBM
IBM has a longstanding commitment to helping build a diverse and inclusive workforce. Last month, IBM announced a commitment to train two million learners in AI by the end of 2026, with a focus on underrepresented communities. And, through IBM SkillsBuild’s collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, we are providing free education and career readiness resources to Hispanics nationwide. Through this collaboration, Hispanic learners are also earning IBM-branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market to create direct pathways to tech jobs.
We are inspired by stories from learners like Oscar Ramirez, an immigrant from Mexico who has studied AI and many more courses through IBM SkillsBuild on his path to a career in technology.
Oscar arrived in California from Mexico when he was five. “We left because of rising crime and the lack of educational resources,” he shared. For years Oscar had no official status in the US, but eventually had the opportunity to apply for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which allowed him to work and pursue college.
Growing up in Silicon Valley, it was almost inevitable that Oscar would be drawn to the world of technology. His family couldn’t afford a computer, so they frequented the local library to learn and experiment with computers, ultimately leading him to choose computer science as his major in college. To afford education, Oscar had to work full-time while also attending college full-time since he couldn't access student loans due to his immigration status. It was a demanding path, filled with major life changes, but his determination paid off when he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics and Computational Mathematics from San Jose State University in June 2023.
During his last semester of college, Oscar was introduced to IBM SkillsBuild through the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (via the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers). He started taking courses and earning credentials, to better stand out for a great role in a great company.
“I’ve taken many IBM SkillsBuild courses and credentials, including AI fundamentals, Cybersecurity, Web Development, Data Analysis, Project Management, and more. What I liked most about the program is that it centralizes a lot of important information and allows you to learn in-depth about the things that most interest you. I like that I can do this as fast or as slow as I want and, in the end, you can have an official way to show people what you’ve been spending your time doing. I enjoyed going through the learning modules which allow me to distinguish myself as a great candidate for any employer.”
As a generalist with a wide range of interests, IBM SkillsBuild’s career assessment tool helped him identify areas where he could excel and allowed him to dig deeper into learning paths that matched his interests and skills.
For peers considering embarking on the IBM SkillsBuild journey, Oscar offers some advice: “If there’s anything that you’d be interested in doing that IBM SkillsBuild can offer, take the first step, and start with the courses. It’ll paint a clearer picture of what you need to do to get where you want to be.”
Oscar’s story is a testament to the power of determination, hard work, and the opportunities that programs like IBM SkillsBuild can provide. Oscar has transformed his life from being an immigrant with limited resources to someone who's actively shaping their future in the tech industry.
“We are at an inflection point in the development of technology. AI has the potential to revolutionize many aspects of our lives, and it is important that we ensure that Latinos have the opportunity to participate and become a part of the next generation in technology. That way can ensure that this technology is being used and developed in a way that benefits all people.”
To learn more about IBM SkillsBuild and AI skills, visit ibmskillsbuild.org
Innovation – joining invention and insight to produce important, new value – is at the heart of what we are as a company. And, today, IBM is leading an evolution in corporate citizenship by contributing innovative solutions and strategies that will help transform and empower our global communities.
Our diverse and sustained programs support education, workforce development, arts and culture, and communities in need through targeted grants of technology and project funds. To learn more about our work in the context of IBM's broader corporate responsibility efforts, please visit Innovations in Corporate Responsibility.
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