April 6, 2001

HACU and IBM Form An Alliance to Narrow Educational Achievement Gap; Better Prepare Hispanics for Careers in the Computer Industry

Program helps narrows "Digital Divide" - - through education, recruitment and development of a highly-skilled Hispanic workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 4 - - The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and IBM today announced an alliance designed to recruit and better prepare Hispanic students for a variety of careers in the computer industry. The program provides long-term support of educational programs and on-going commitment to funding, mentoring, technology, and recruiting initiatives that will close the Hispanic educational achievement gap and help ensure the success of this growing population.

An outline of the program was presented this week at the National Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education in Washington, D.C. The Forum will provide input to the White House and Congress, with the intention of furthering the country's focus on narrowing the Hispanic educational achievement gap - - and calling attention to the need for technology initiatives, increased funding, student retention and career mentoring programs within the Hispanic community.

"HACU is committed to strengthening the institutional capacity of its member colleges and universities across the United States and abroad, particularly their information technology infrastructure," said HACU President and CEO, Antonio Flores. Several national studies have reported a `Digital Divide' between minority and non-minority populations when it comes to computer access and expertise in today's high technology economy. The agreement with IBM is a major step in our efforts to increase access to this essential technology and connectivity to the Internet for Hispanics."

The new HACU/IBM initiatives will provide: e-Mentoring portals for Hispanic students to seek career advice and counsel from IBM professionals; e-business curriculum development for select HACU campuses; an IBM Executive to be part of HACU's strategy and philanthropic councils; Executive Partners to help with business and planning assistance; various student and faculty internship opportunities; and a technology alliance, in which Hispanic students, faculty and their families can purchase a variety of IBM PC's and options at significantly discounted prices.

"This effort plays to IBM's long-standing role in educational reform and in narrowing the `Digital Divide' - - across all communities, " said Bob Gonzales, vice president, employee services, IBM Corporation and IBM executive representative to HACU. "Our relationship with HACU complements the other successful Hispanic education and recruiting efforts underway at IBM - - and calls attention to the increasing role business must play in making educational tools, career opportunities and on-going program support available to students everywhere."

This year, IBM expects to hire approximately 20,000 new employees in the U.S. and hopes to increase the number of Hispanic recruits across all disciplines. In the past three years alone, IBM has nearly doubled the number of Hispanic hires. The recruitment initiatives with HACU will tap students and professors from HACU member institutions - - colleges and universities with predominant Hispanic enrollment - - to help fill critical IBM positions with qualified college graduates and IT professionals.

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