Getting on Board With Gen Z

IBM’s Academic Initiative (AI) began as a way to expose students to mainframe skills so businesses could recruit and staff their IT departments. “We consider the AI program as a skills service to the community,” says Don Resnik, worldwide leader, System z* Academic Initiative. “We’re helping our customers with their skill sets, current and future, and we do it for free.”

Over the years, the enterprise computing community—clients, ISVs, IBM business partners, educators and the IT industry–visit colleges and universities to evangelize about the need for mainframe education, which helps encourage students to pursue the mainframe. When it comes time for students to graduate and enter the workforce, they are very much in demand. “Students majoring in computer science, information technology and management information services have multiple job offers and that’s why it’s critical that our voice is heard on campus,” Resnik says.

If companies want to be successful in hiring students with mainframe knowledge, businesses must be visible on campus. “The businesses that are at the IBM-organized roundtables and are talking to the students and the professors will be the ones to get the students,” Resnik says. It pays to be proactive.

—S.S.S.

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