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IBM Program To Help Students Gain Critical Mainframe Skills Grows To More Than 600 Universities


Schools in Emerging Markets Join IBM Academic Initiative for System z; program now reaches students in 61 countries

ARMONK, NY - IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that its multi-million-dollar program to help colleges, universities, and high schools build students’ mainframe computer skills has surpassed 600 schools worldwide. Since the program’s inception in 2004 with 24 colleges from the United States, the System z Academic Initiative now reaches students in 61 countries.

The IBM Academic Initiative – which provides educational resources to nourish the mainframe skills base and help students develop knowledge and practical skills that enable them to find good jobs – is experiencing global growth.

The academic program’s penetration in emerging markets reflects System z’s growth in those markets, as demonstrated by recent wins from customers, such as Westpac Bank of New Zealand, HDFC Bank (India), Kookmin Bank, Korea Exchange Bank, among others. For the second quarter of 2009, IBM reported a 17 percent revenue increase for System z in growth markets.

New universities include the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Centro Paula Souza (Brazil), and FIAP (Brazil). For the first time, students in South Africa will benefit from the collaboration among the University of Pretoria, IBM, IBM customers and IBM Business Partners. Each will play a role in the delivery of the course. Centro Paula Souza, Brazil’s top technical institution, will expand System z to 20 campus sites for regular and extension courses. FIAP now offers a Data Center and Enterprise Systems Management MBA. The program aims to educate students on how an enterprise datacenter works and how System z contributes to keeping energy costs low with a small footprint.

In China, Southeast University (SEU), one of the national key universities administered directly under the Ministry of Education of China, recently joined the Academic Initiative to teach System z. SEU has added IBM mainframe technology courses into the curriculum of undergraduate and graduate students in computer science and software engineering disciplines. The project aims to train students with skills in mainframe application development and mainframe system administration to match the marketplace demands.

In Europe, the new schools in the program include University of Karlsruhe (Germany) and EPSI (France), which is working to introduce a full year mainframe education program on top of what is already in place for several years to introduce System z in the standard systems curriculum. Also in Italy, La Banque Postale, Sogeti and IBM created the “zAcademy” to offer a professional course on IBM System z technologies for the banking sector.

In North America, additions include Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Ball State University, and Cégep de Thetford (Canada). Cégep de Thetford is currently developing, through its continuing education sector, a specialized on-line program focused entirely on the IBM mainframe and targeted at the IT workforce. The first course is expected to be launched in March 2010. The university plans on adding this program as a fourth-year component to their regular three-year curriculum already covering JCL, DB2 and COBOL on System z. RIT has expanded its educational scope to expose students to a holistic view of IBM enterprise systems architecture. The university has added enterprise system concepts into a current core course, and is in the process of developing advanced track undergraduate and graduate courses in enterprise system administration and networking.

In addition to university collaborations, IBM has established enterprise computing summer and employee training programs with System z customers, such as Citigroup and Bank of America.

"Bank of America is building a new generation of talent to support our infrastructure. We’ve hired students from colleges and universities enrolled in IBM’s Academic Initiative,” said Kim Grim, Senior Vice President, Mainframe Engineering at Bank of America. “The students from those schools enrolled in IBM’s initiative have the knowledge and skills ready to support the IBM System z server.”

System z Education Reflects Real World Scenarios

Another way in which universities have boosted their technology curricula involves bringing real-world experiences to the classroom. For Ball State University, the school’s IT team looked to System z to simplify student administration transactions using a services oriented architecture on top of its IBM mainframe code.

“The basics of enterprise computing are critical as we find ways to leverage our existing investments for new technologies like Web 2.0,” said Fred Nay, Director, University Computing Services at Ball State University. “We long have relied on System z. And now we’re finding that with these core skills, nearly any modern project can be successful.”

System z is the gold standard for superior reliability and management of high volumes of computer transactions. Mainframe skills are in demand from banks, government agencies, airlines, retailers and others in an interconnected world. IBM System z revenue share for servers costing $250,000 or more nearly doubled from 17 percent to 30 this decade, according to IDC.

More than 50,000 students worldwide have taken part in IBM enterprise systems education. For educators and students, the initiative provides a comprehensive enterprise systems curriculum, faculty workshops, resume posting services, access to industry experts, and special tests and contests.

“For over forty five years, IBM has continued to innovate and protect our customers’ investments in the mainframe,” said Tom Rosamilia, general manager of System z at IBM. “By investing with more than 600 schools to train the next generation of IT leaders, we ensure our customers not only have a supply of critical skills, but continue to realize unmatched returns on the unique strengths of their System z platform.”

System z community links offer mainframe job resources for students

To promote System z awareness and connect students, IBM has created a System z profile on Facebook (keyword: systemz mainframe) with approximately 1,000 friends from major corporations, universities, mainframe fans, among others. Also available on facebook, students can join the “System z on campus” community for school specific events or details for learning, promoting, and building a career in IBM’s System z. IBM has created a worldwide Student Opportunity System for students to post their resumes for employer review and to introduce students to mainframe recruiters at Students can also access a portal for more information on contests, scholarships and other learning opportunities on

For details about IBM’s System z Academic Initiative, visit


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