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IBM Alliance With University Aims To Make Students Mainframe-, Linux-Savvy

The expanded curriculum addresses the expected evaporation of mainframe and related skills as baby-boomer techies retire.

To help meet the demands of New York-area employers looking for techies with skills related to mainframe, Linux, and open-standard technologies, IBM has expanded a partnership with Pace University, enhancing the curriculum it already helped develop at the school.

This fall, Pace will tweak its curriculum to include more lessons related to open systems, software development, Linux, and large systems, says Susan Merritt, dean of Pace University's Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

"This is a focused project to better prepare students for the many jobs out there," says Merritt. Financial services companies and banks, health care organizations, and consulting firms are among New York-area employers seeking those skills in their new recruits.

The expanded partnership between IBM and Pace reflects findings from a recent forum sponsored by IBM with another local university, Stevens Institute of Technology, for New York employers, during which the participants brainstormed about ways to address the expected evaporation of mainframe and related skills as baby-boomer techies retire.

As part of its expanded alliance with Pace, IBM says it will also host a series of technology seminars and lectures, sponsor faculty education workshops, and arrange for IBM professionals to mentor Pace students and provide career advice. IBM is also arranging for Pace students to visit IBM research and development labs and manufacturing facilities in Poughkeepsie and Hawthorne, N.Y.

Local employer StrikeForce Technologies, an identity-management products vendor, has already hired one Pace student and expects to hire many more as the company grows, says CEO Mark Kay.

Prior to joining StrikeForce three years ago, Kay was a 26-year veteran of JP Morgan, including his last post as CIO of corporate services, and he's no stranger to Pace. "I've done a lot of hiring from Pace over the years, at least two to three students a year," he says.

Kay is confident that the new classes being developed at Pace with IBM will continue to provide Pace students with tech skills he can use at his company. "We prevent identity theft. The more a person understands about Unix, PCs, Java, the better," he says.

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