Global technology company IBM announced the launch of free sustainability courses, targeting learners across communities underrepresented in technology, aimed at providing skills for the green economy.

The new courses will be provided by IBM SkillsBuild, a free education program focused on underrepresented communities in tech, that helps adult learners, and high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities, through collaborations with social service, economic development, and vocational organizations, as well as government agencies, and universities.

According to IBM, the announcement comes alongside new research from the company and business intelligence company Morning Consult, with a survey of more than 3,000 global business leaders indicating a growing skills gap in sustainability, including 71% who reported that they expect to implement more sustainability experience hiring criteria within the next two years, and 92% who said their organizations will likely invest in employee training on using IT to advance sustainability goals within the next year.

The new IBM SkillsBuild Sustainability Roadmap will include AI-powered recommendations for each learner, with interdisciplinary coursework connect topics such as ecology and biodiversity, with technology training in AI and data analytics. Coursework will include introductory courses, mid-level offerings in design thinking and green entrepreneurship, and advanced courses for learners to apply their skills to sustainability topics across AI, cybersecurity, and ESG reporting.

The launch of the new courses follows a commitment announced by IBM in 2021 to provide 30 million people with new skills for future job needs, with a focus on underrepresented communities.

Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Vice President & Chief Impact Office, said:

“With nearly half of the global population vulnerable to significant environmental distress, new strategies to help create a sustainable future are essential. This means scaling solutions to help people immediately, while also cultivating a pipeline of future leaders at the intersection of technology and sustainability across industries.”