IBM forges Hispanic alliance

Closing the Digital Divide home page

To better prepare Hispanic higher education students for technology careers, IBM Corp. and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities recently announced an alliance providing long-term support for education, internship and mentoring initiatives.

IBM officials expect the alliance to also help them recruit Hispanic workers. The company reports that it has doubled the number of Hispanic people it has hired in the past three years. This year, the company expects to hire about 20,000 new employees in the United States.

IBM will provide discounts on its products to students, faculty and HACU member schools.

The alliance includes:

    * An e-Mentoring program in which a student can choose an IBM employee as a mentor to provide online advice and to be an expert in the student's field of study.

    * An e-Business curriculum development package of objectives, learning tools, measurements and best practices at select campuses.

    * Summer internship programs for top students and select HACU faculty members.

    * On-site IBM workshops on topics such as youth leadership and choosing an information technology career.

    * An IBM representative on HACU's corporate philanthropic council to serve as an adviser on business issues.

The programs are designed to help narrow the digital divide for Hispanics in higher education as well as provide role models for younger Hispanics. According to HACU, about 28 percent of Hispanic high school graduates ages 18 to 21 were enrolled in college in 1997 vs. 46 percent of whites. For Hispanic students 25 years and older, 11 percent had completed a college education by 1998, compared with 25 percent of whites.

Internet use among Hispanics ages 9 to 25 is also lowest, compared with usage among whites, African Americans and Asian Americans, according to federal statistics. And, 23.6 percent of Hispanic households — similar to the percentage for African American households — have Internet access, far below the 41.5 percent national average.

HACU (www.hacu.net) is a nonprofit association that represents the interests of more than 270 colleges and universities that serve more than two-thirds of all Hispanic students.

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