Appalachians are infamous for their country ways and lack of education, but two institutions are joining forces to help bring Appalachia into the digital age. IBM and Appalachian Colleges and Universities are creating a program to help promote careers in computer sciences, reports Information Week.
"Appalachia is on the wrong end of the curve" in economics and education, says Martin Ramsay, chief institutional technologist at Appalachian Colleges and Universities, a nonprofit consortium of 35 private and public colleges and universities in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
IBM is providing $5 million in equipment and training, including middleware and tools such as WebSphere, DB2, Rational, and Lotus; discounted hardware; course materials; training; and curriculum development. IBM staff also trains educators in how to teach students skills related to open source and standards-based technologies, such as Java, Linux, security, and networking.
Due to declining enrollment, many schools don't have any computer science or related programs. Students are deterred from going into these fields because they hear about "jobs going to India," Ramsay says. About 39,000 students attend the schools in the consortium, which has a combined faculty of about 3,250.