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IBM to help employees become teachers

Big Blue pledges financial assistance for employees who want to leave the company to start a teaching career.

Citing a U.S. shortage of math and science teachers, IBM has pledged financial support for employees who leave the company to pursue teaching careers.

The tech giant said on Friday that it would reimburse participants in its new Transition to Teaching program up to $15,000 for tuition and stipends. Participants will also be able to remain at IBM while they conduct course work and training, the company said.

"Many of our experienced employees have math and science backgrounds and have made it clear that when they are ready to leave IBM, they aren't ready to stop contributing," Stanley Litow, vice president of IBM Corporate Community Relations, said in a statement. "Transferring their skills from IBM to the classroom is a natural for many--especially in the areas of math and science."

IBM plans to initially open the program to as many as 100 employees in the United States. The program is set to begin in January in New York, North Carolina and several other locations where IBM has big staffs, the company said.

Employees who wish to participate must have management approval and must have worked for the company for at least 10 years. IBM noted that previously, many employees approaching the traditional retirement age have shown interest in making a contribution to their communities.

IBM's move comes as technology executives voice concern about the U.S. losing ground to China, India and other countries in math and science education.