August 13, 2008 09:00 ET

Columbus State University Celebrates Educating Over 1,000 Students on Mainframe Skills

Longtime Relationship With TSYS and IBM Has Helped Columbus State University Train, Educate and Employ Students at TSYS Over the Past 20 Years in Mainframe and Large Enterprise Computing Careers

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - August 13, 2008) - At the annual SHARE conference and education symposium today, Columbus State University, TSYS and IBM (NYSE: IBM) celebrated a 20-year milestone as a result of their partnership to meet the needs of the technology workforce of the future. Columbus State University has now educated and trained more than 1,000 students in mainframe and large enterprise skills specifically for careers at TSYS, a leading provider of electronic payments solutions. Columbus State University and TSYS, along with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, collaborated to create innovative, diverse curriculum to meet the specialized needs of high-tech industries. Nearly 2,500 students overall have been educated and trained by Columbus State University for technology careers at companies across the globe during these 20 years.

Columbus State University has been working with IBM in various capacities for the past 20 years on developing curriculum, gaining access to working IBM mainframes via central hubs, and offering guest lecturer opportunities and career fairs, in order to help its students gain employment in various capacities of mainframe and large enterprise computing careers at TSYS. IBM formally launched its Academic Initiative for System z program in 2004 with Columbus State University being one of the first early adopters.

"It has been proven over the last 40 years that the IBM mainframe is the core of the enterprise data center universe and a technology that is never going to go away," said Dr. Wayne Summers, Professor and Distinguished Chairperson, TSYS Department of Computer Science, Columbus State University. "We have been educating and training our students for careers by using a technology platform that we believe in, and organizations like TSYS see it as the foundation for their own data centers. We're pleased to play a role in this collaborative partnership."

Columbus State University offers a bachelor's in Computer Science, bachelor's in Information Technology and a master's in Applied Computer Science. In the past 20 years, Columbus State University has awarded nearly 2,500 certificates, diplomas, and degrees in computer science and computer programming. TSYS has hired more than 1,000 of those computer programmers and mainframe experts, and more than 800 are still full-time employees at TSYS.

"Our knowledgeable, consultative team members are the lifeblood of our company and we continually need to add the best programmers in the world to maintain, update and program our IBM mainframes with the latest technology and software to enable constant reliability and availability to our customers," said Kenneth L. Tye, senior executive vice president and chief information officer, TSYS. "Our relationship with Columbus State University and IBM provides us the strategic insight and access to some of the best mainframe and large enterprise computing skills in the world, and we're looking forward to continually employing new generations of mainframe programmers."

As part of its degree programs, Columbus State University currently offers courses in Structured Programming with COBOL, Assembly Language Programming, and Introduction to Transaction Processing with future plans to offer Object-oriented COBOL, Websphere, SOA and Virtualization courses.

"Organizations that own zSeries platforms should make an investment of time and involvement in programs to ensure a steady supply of candidates with the right mix of skills," said analyst Phil Murphy of Forrester Research in a recent report(1). "Even if CIOs face no current shortage of mainframe resources, realize that the laws of supply-and-demand cut both ways -- increased competition for talented mainframe resources is likely to become a catalyst for staff attrition in the coming years."

Launched in 2004, the overall IBM Academic Initiative is a program offering a wide range of technology education benefits through IBM's deep technology history -- from IBM supplied instruction to technology -- that can scale to meet the goals of most colleges and universities. The IBM Academic Initiative for System z program works with schools to enable courses, labs, senior design projects, and research in large systems thinking.

"The IBM mainframe is the foundation for the data center today, a proven technology platform that clients are betting their entire infrastructures on," said Kathleen Pfeiffer, Program Manager, IBM Academic Initiative for System z. "The students of today are going to be responsible for the future operations of the mainframe, and it is thanks to key schools like Columbus State University that students are learning a wide range of mainframe skills and gaining hands-on experience to apply at those very companies that need the skill-sets -- like TSYS. The success of IBM, TSYS and Columbus State is the very essence of our Academic Initiative for System z program."

In February, IBM announced that it had helped educate nearly 50,000 students globally on mainframe and large enterprise skills and surpassed 400 colleges and universities involved in the IBM Academic Initiative for System z program, up from just 24 schools in 2004.

The IBM mainframe is an important element in helping clients develop a new enterprise data center, which offers dramatic improvements in IT efficiency and provides for rapid deployment of new IT services to support future business growth. IBM is helping clients move to new enterprise data centers by focusing on best practice around virtualization, green IT, service management and cloud computing.

About Columbus State University

Columbus State University, about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta, is a member of the State University System of Georgia. Through engaging learning experiences, CSU aims to educate students for career and life success. Columbus State has enjoyed steady growth in recent years, enrolling about 7,600 undergraduate and graduate students in fall 2007. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and 35 graduate degrees.

About TSYS

TSYS (NYSE: TSS) is one of the world's largest companies for outsourced payment services, offering a broad range of issuer- and acquirer-processing technologies that support consumer-finance, credit, debit, healthcare, loyalty and prepaid services for financial institutions and retail companies in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions. For more information contact or log on to

(1) March 19, 2008, "Academic Programs Are Beginning To Offset Anticipated Mainframe Talent Shortages," Phil Murphy, Forrester Research.

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