IBM High: Big Blue to Sponsor School, Mold Future Employees


Want your kids to have a plum job after graduation? Send them to a New York City high school currently being planned by the City University of New York and IBM. The school, which will play host to around 600 students, will span grades 9 to 14. Its students will leave with an associate’s degree–and a guaranteed job with IBM. It’s a “a ticket to the middle class, or even beyond,” according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

WNYC reports that IBM has offered $250,000 for New York City to create the computer science-focused school, which is set to open next fall. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is throwing in $3 million. It will be the first high school in the U.S. to go through grade 14. No word on how students will be selected to attend, but we do know that they won’t be academically pre-screened.

The IBM-sponsored high school is part of the larger trend of corporate-sponsored education that has popped up over the past few years. This past spring, Microsoft graduated its first class at the School of the Future, a Philadelphia high school that trains students in a “culture of innovation.” And Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a $100 million dollar donation to Newark, New Jersey’s public school system.

But IBM’s school, unlike Microsoft and Facebook’s, will effectively be a corporate training program. Students won’t be forced to work at IBM after graduation, of course, but the company will have the opportunity to mold them in its image. Is being beholden to a giant corporation the price that inner city students now have to pay for a quality education?

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.