September 02, 2009

IBM and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, have collaborated to develop the first-ever green data center management degree using IBM hardware, software and online training resources. The two-year associate's degree includes courses to help students gain technical and business skills to prepare them for careers in the design and management of energy-efficient data centers.

The new degree comes at a time when U.S. colleges and universities are expected to lead the way in preparing the future workforce with innovative new skills to help boost the economy. For example, in July President Obama launched the American Graduation Initiative, a 10-year, $12 billion plan to provide community colleges nationwide with funding for new scholarships and online classes for students, and to modernize aging facilities and infrastructures.

As part of the new MCC degree, students have the opportunity to learn about virtualization and server consolidation, energy efficiency, business resiliency, and security and compliance through a new enterprise data center on campus. The center is built on IBM Power Systems servers running AIX, IBM i and Linux environments.

IBM technologies used in this program allow MCC to extend the degree to other colleges through a virtual learning program. As a result, all courses in the green data center management track will be offered online where remote students can gain the same skills as those on campus including virtual access to the physical data center itself.

MCC developed the curriculum with the help of the IBM Academic Initiative, a program that now provides nearly 4,000 colleges and universities worldwide with no-charge access to online skills resources, including tutorials and courseware.

Omaha is one of only a few U.S. cities that sits at the intersection of both east-west and north-south fiber optic networks -- attracting a large number of communications and information services companies and putting IT-savvy employees in high demand for data center jobs.

MCC's data center is funded through a three-year $1.8 million grant that MCC received from the U.S. Department of Labor with the goal of increasing the number of students in IT education.

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