With 5 million new jobs in the clean energy sector expected as part of the Obama administration's $150 billion clean tech investment, any science-minded college student that doesn't consider a future in clean energy would be misguided. That's where IBM's Smarter Cities Skills Initiative comes in. The program opens up the company's green IT resources to Columbia students, presumably in an attempt to sway the next generation of college students towards IBM tools.
Among the resources that Columbia students now have free access to:
- IBM software either on premise or in the cloud including WebSphere, Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, and Rational to develop software for sustainability and green projects
- Technical support for green technology courses that show students how to build energy efficient IT infrastructures for smart buildings, smart grids and smart water systems
- Energy efficiency and open standards software development tools on IBM developerWorks
- 100,000 global business partners and academic communities through 40 IBM Innovation Centers in 30 countries to fuel collaboration on smarter cities projects
Rich Lechner, vice president of IBM Energy and Environment, sums it up well: "IBM and Columbia share a common goal to ensure the next generation of entrepreneurs have access to the skills they need to accelerate sustainability projects and to be competitive when they enter the workforce." It's a win-win situation—Columbia students get the opportunity to help create a more sustainable IT infrastructure, and IBM is presumably held in high esteem by grateful students after graduation.
For students that don't have the academic chops to make it at Columbia, IBM is also sharing its hardware and software with the Green Data Center Management degree program at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. Data center energy consumption is expected to double in the coming years to 100 billion kilowatt hours, or $7.4 billion in energy costs, so there should be plenty of IT work to spread around.