Re: Will Companies Spend on IT Employee Training?
No, the employer did not pay for any specific professional development formal instruction, but then that was not actually the purpose of the exercise. Reimbursement was available for certification fees and, in some cases, certification courses, although I'm not aware of any instance where a staff member claimed that. The purpose of the directive (and why it was only 4 hours/week), was to explicitly instill the discipline of self-directed development. How the staff member faciliated that, whether reading books, trade journals, attending in-person events, etc., was at the discretion of that staff member.
Regarding the universities which had curricula in the 1950s and 1960s, an important distinction needs to be made between those which were engineering-based for the design of computing hardware, and those which were more geared toward the use of computing devices, in the realm of operations and programming. There's no doubt there were EE programs available, lest the machines would have never been built in the first place. Nonetheless, I believe you'll find that most of the *programmers* of those mainframes in the 1960s were not college trained. In fact, it was a particularly rare employee who had even attended college in that time frame.