Philadelphia – Today, the City of Philadelphia launched a partnership with IBM to run a mentoring and STEM skills-building program for middle- and high-school-age students.  The program will connect IBM senior consultants with Philadelphia youth to teach them coding through a combination of classroom and practical exercises.  IBM is partnering with the city to launch this program, and SERVE Philadelphia is coordinating the effort to expand the program within 7 city-designated Community Schools.  The IBM program supports the new Citywide OST Initiative and the United Nations Impact 2030 goals.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with IBM on this exciting initiative as the opening salvo to the United Nations Impact 2030 project,” said Mayor Kenney.  “IBM’s commitment is helping the city on two fronts. By providing STEM-based education during out-of-school time and working directly within our Community Schools system, their involvement is the epitome of a strategic and smart private-public partnership, of which our children will be the beneficiaries.”

“Technology jobs are in demand and computer coding is the ticket,” said Diane Melley, Vice President, Global Citizenship Initiatives, IBM. “This partnership with the City of Philadelphia will help teach the girls here today, as well as youth across the city, the right skills for the future.”

While today’s launch welcomed 50 young women from The City of Philadelphia and Girls, Inc., to participate, IBM will be working with the Mayor’s Office of Education to expand the program into 7 Community Schools beginning in the fall.  IBM senior consultants will visit community schools on a weekly basis, during the school year and next summer to provide 90 minute sessions of STEM and robotics curriculum, as well as a meal at each of the sites.  Community Schools are public schools in which the City supports strategic partnerships to meet student and community needs, including extra-curricular activities and job readiness training.

“We’re very excited to work with IBM to bring this program into Community Schools,” said Otis Hackney, the City’s Chief Education Officer. “This is a unique opportunity for Philadelphia youth to learn from leaders in technology, explore careers in growing fields, and enrich their academic experience with after-school projects. We’re grateful to IBM for supporting our key goals of providing extra-curricular activities and job readiness supports to students.”

“We are re-tooling our skill base in IBM to make a broader impact in the world using technology,” Sam Girard, IBM VP and Sr. Client Partner.  “As part of that charter, we will work to make a difference in the local communities we are in to accelerate that change with the youth in Philadelphia.”

Today, 50 young women from The City of Philadelphia and Girls, Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey, previewed the program.

“We are so excited to create mentorship opportunities for our girls with STEM professionals through IBM,” says Girls, Inc., Executive Director Dena Herrin. “It is critical that girls interact with technology professionals, particularly women, who have navigated the complicated STEM career paths to see these careers as opportunities for themselves regardless of their cultural or economic background.”

The City of Philadelphia signed on to the United Nations Impact 2030 initiative in August 2016, and IBM is one of founding corporate partners for the initiative.  IMPACT 2030 is a private sector-led coalition, in collaboration with the United Nations, the public and social sectors, and academia, that is aligning human capital investments through corporate volunteering to directly contribute to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The SDGs include ending poverty, ensuring inclusive and equitable education, building infrastructure and promoting sustainability, among 17 broad and globally impactful goals. IMPACT 2030 has a 15-year charter to work with United Nations on this sole purpose.