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IBM and Illinois State University Collaborate to Equip Students With 21st Century Computing Skills


ARMONK, NY and NORMAL, IL - 14 Nov 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Illinois State University today announced a new effort to prepare students for jobs of the 21st century.

As part of this collaboration, IBM is loaning the long-term use of the latest IBM System z 890 server to the University's College of Applied Science and Technology to build skills on virtualization, Linux and Power Architecture™ technologies. Access to this platform will provide students with a view into the demands of real-world business environments through the study of enterprise computing systems. This technology also will offer students new opportunities to work in teams on virtual projects and lab assignments.

"The College of Applied Science's schools and departments all have one thing in common -- they teach students how to apply what they learn," said President Al Bowman, Illinois State University. "The School of Information Technology teaches computer related knowledge and how to apply that knowledge to solve real-world problems for a variety of organizations. Through this exciting collaboration with IBM, our students learn not only how to use the technology in real applications, but also how to continue learning once they graduate so that they stay current in a rapidly changing environment."

The unveiling of the new IBM System z 890 loaner system was announced today during a meeting of business, IT and education leaders held at an event hosted by the School of Information Technology and the College of Applied Science and Technology. In addition, the college disclosed plans to introduce new enterprise computing courseware linked to the z 890 server technology in spring 2008.

The new mainframe resources will help students better understand how data warehousing, e-commerce, and business intelligence technologies work together. IBM will supplement classroom lessons in operating environments, data communication and security with sponsored guest lectures and educational trips to local customer datacenters. At the end of each semester, IBM will also administer a mastery exam, which will give students an opportunity to put their large system skills to the test.

"As businesses increase their reliance on technology, there is a greater demand for skilled employees to manage these complex processes and functions," said Jai Menon, IBM Fellow and Vice President Technical Strategy and University Relations, IBM. "Our work with Illinois State showcases how we are helping to create a smarter pool of potential hires for ourselves, our customers, our business partners and, of course, other local businesses."

The college's focus on providing the latest IT curriculum has led to a significant increase in job placements from local companies such as John Deere, State Farm Insurance, Country Financial and others. As a testament to that growth, Illinois State alumni have been staffed in prominent jobs associated with enterprise system management, software development, and product development.

Contact(s) information

Pasha Ray Dahncke
IBM Academic Innovation Initiatives
(914) 766-3389
bipasha@us.ibm.com

Jay Groves
Media Relations, Illinois State University
(309) 438-5727

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