The establishment of IBM Corporate Service Corps

So, let’s fast forward a bit to 2007.  On 25 July, IBM announced the creation of a “Global Citizens Portfolio”, a group of programs centered around enabling its employees to participate more broadly in their communities.  The Global Citizens Portfolio as initially announced had three programs:

  • Matching Accounts For Learning, a 50% match of expenses for any sort of training or education an employee decided to acquire.
  • Enhanced Transition Services, to identify job opportunities for employees within critically in-demand areas of government, non-profit, and educational organizations.
  • And of course, the IBM Corporate Service Corps itself.

This announcement was backed by a pledge of $60 million over the first three years; you can find a copy of the original announcement here.  As should be the case in any shareholder-owned enterprise, these programs were intelligently designed to ensure that they benefited not only IBM employees and the communities those employees chose to support, but IBM itself through the skills, passion, and empowerment those employees gain through the process.  So the energizing value of working to support a community may have been a revelation to me in 2002, but it clearly was not a secret to the IBM’ers who designed this program and rolled it out in 2007.

The key thing that differentiated CSC from other programs at the time was that the support being delivered was not generic infrastructure and development work, but IBM’s core expertise.  We would be advising people on the best ways to apply technology to solve real-world problems, which is exactly what most of us do in our professional lives.

In December of 2007, the Financial Times published a great article on the CSC’s pilot year.  Their website requests that I link to their site rather than paste their copyrighted material and cite the source, so I invite you to follow this link to learn more.

Next, I hope to be able to tell you the stories of some of the people who participated in CSC’s pilot year, and share how it has impacted their lives.  Until then, take care.


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