Time Magazine reports that IBM is collaborating with students to pay for their higher educations in exchange for the students contractually committing to specific subjects of study – and accepting as their initial employment, positions with IBM. When students graduate, IBM, I believe, is contractually obligated to supply the jobs to the students. If I’ve got it right, this may be a potentially positive move by an American corporation to relieve some of our country’s racial and income inequality.
Academics may protest that the high tech and scientific subjects IBM demands of students for their jobs do not constitute the “liberal” education we have long held as appropriate for a well-educated person. That is probably true. However, objectively considered, we are in a persistently digital high tech age. And for students more interested in paying jobs than a classically liberal education, the scheme is likely to work.
Clearly, corporations and their right-leaning politicians need to get beyond the habitual “gripe” mentality they commonly display when liberal politicians try to pass legislation to relieve income inequality. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If corporations and their politicians choose to disrupt liberal attempts to address broader social and economic problems through legislation, then corporations must assume substantially-increased responsibility for our country’s distribution of jobs.
To accomplish this, the IBM corporate education model needs to carefully identify and help many young Americans from poor uneducated families. Otherwise, all it will accomplish is to solidify the concept of an elite employee base bankrolled by corporations for corporations. It is in everyone’s interest to reduce the country’s widely divisive income inequality by broadening and deepening the education of our worker base. It is also humane, compassionate, and in line with our nation’s alleged spiritual convictions.