April 10, 2006 15:09 ET

IBM and Missouri State University Prepare Students for Jobs of the Future

Academic Initiative Program Encourages Open Standards Skills, Collaborative Innovation

ARMONK, NY and SPRINGFIELD, MO -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 10, 2006 -- Missouri State University and IBM officials announced today that the university has joined IBM's Academic Initiative to better prepare students to be future leaders in technology and business. The partnership will provide students with access to a wide range of free IBM software, hardware and services resources -- valued at approximately $5 million.

IBM Academic Initiative is a program that offers university faculty and students a host of educational benefits to encourage the use of open standards technologies. By participating in this initiative, universities receive free access to IBM software, free course material, training and curriculum development and discounted hardware. IBM is currently working with more than 1,900 universities, 11,000 faculty members and 450,000 students around the world to promote open source and open standards and IBM technologies in the classroom and a more collaborative global learning environment.

IBM is actively building an expansive ecosystem of venture capitalists, developers, software vendors and universities to promote new sources of collaborative innovation. A recent survey of 750 of the world's top corporate executives showed that it is getting increasingly more difficult for companies to innovate on their own, and many of the major breakthroughs in this century will be a result of projects involving multiple participants. Promoting collaborative innovation, IBM's Academic Initiative helps prepare students for a variety of jobs in the IT and business consulting industries by building 21st century computer science skills.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports an enormous opportunity exists in all technological fields. This year, it predicts this country will need 1.5 million more information technology professionals. And, that one out of every four jobs in this decade will be in IT. It notes, however, that colleges and universities will have to quadruple their number of graduates by 2008 in order to meet this demand. This situation exists at a time when schools in Missouri, and nationwide, are witnessing dwindling enrollments in information technology programs in both colleges of business and schools of engineering.

"The partnership between Missouri State University and IBM creates tremendous opportunities for both students and faculty alike," said David Glass, former president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and the current Chairman of the Wal-Mart Executive Committee. "I applaud IBM's effort and commitment to advancing the study of technology in schools. I would encourage others to follow in their example of providing support to students who will be called upon to compete in an increasingly technology-driven, global workplace."

Missouri State University is helping prepare students for technology jobs of the future by providing the latest IT training and certifications. Next semester, the department of Computer Information Systems (CIS) in the College of Business Administration will introduce new courseware on Eclipse, Derby and IBM's Rational development technologies in an effort to raise awareness about new open source technologies. These offerings will be available in more than half of their eleven application development courses. By introducing new courseware around open source and open standards technologies, Missouri State University is helping students embrace the concepts of collaborative innovation, while gaining exposure to the IT industry's cutting-edge development tools.

"With the support of IBM's Academic Initiative, we can actively train students to be better qualified for all of the promising jobs we see in today's technology industry," said Mike Hignite, Ph.D. MBA Director and Professor College of Business Administration. "The upside of seeing increased global competition in the technology sector is that it is encouraging national universities to take a more proactive approach to developing technology talent. At Missouri State, we're committed to growing talented CIS students into successful developers and software engineers.

By exposing students to the use of open standards and open source technologies, the university hopes to promote increased entrepreneurship in the IT software marketplace; given that such open source technology often provides the platform for new product development.

Supplying Corporate Demand for Local Talent

Missouri State's focus on providing the latest IT curriculum has led to a significant increase in job placements from local companies such as Cerner Corporation, Fed Ex and Edward Jones Information Systems Recruiting over the past three years. Missouri State alumni have been staffed in prominent jobs associated with software development, and product development. By increasing its focus on information technology, Missouri State is building a strong reputation for being a hub of local technology talent -- attracting a growing number of corporate recruiters to its campus every year.

"IBM is collaborating with universities around the world to develop innovative technologies and business models," said Buell Duncan, General Manager, ISV and Developer Relations, IBM Software Group. "The Academic Initiative provides students with direct access to cutting edge tools and business insight in an effort to prepare them for jobs in the growing and rapidly changing IT industry."

As part of the Academic Initiative, IBM is working with select schools to achieve three key objectives:

--  Training an IT workforce to fill the new kinds of jobs that are
    emerging at IBM and across the industry;
--  Providing the right skills to the next generation of IT workers to
    ensure they are qualified for the jobs of tomorrow; and
--  Ensuring that universities have the most current, relevant curricula
    that map to the kinds of jobs that are expected, so schools can be
    attractive for enrollment and growth.

About the IBM Academic Initiative

The IBM Academic Initiative, which is designed to help educators teach students the open standards technology skills necessary to compete for the jobs of tomorrow, is currently used by universities and colleges to offer open standards-based courses to over 450,000 students worldwide.

The IBM Academic Initiative is an innovative program offering a wide range of technology education benefits from free to fee that can scale to meet the goals of most colleges and universities. IBM will work with schools -- that support open standards and seek to use open source and IBM technologies for teaching purposes -- both directly and virtually via the Web. For more information on the IBM Academic Initiative, visit

For more information on Missouri State, visit

Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Pasha Ray
    IBM Media Relations - Software Group
    11 Madison Avenue, 18th Floor
    New York, NY 10010