By Matthew Keck–

The University of Louisville and IBM are partnering to develop an IBM Skills Academy on campus starting in the fall 2019. It will be housed in the Miller Information and Technology Center.

U of L will be the first university to have the IBM Skills Academy, but Dr. Naguib Attia, vice president of IBM global university programs, said that IBM plans on expanding.

The program will be offered to students for a course credit along with being IBM certified. This program will be available not only for students but the public as well.

The Skills Academy will focus on eight areas of research innovation including data science, blockchain, cyber security and artificial intelligence.

Faculty and staff will be trained in the eight areas and how to teach these programs. Once the initial staff is trained, they will be the ones training other faculty and teaching students.

President Neeli Bendapudi said this is the way for U of L to stay up to date with the latest technological practices. “[It’s] transforming our life for the better with tools and technology,” she said. Bendapudi called the program a digital transformation for the university.

Mayor Greg Fischer said that the goal is to increase the amount of people with technological training. He said that the city would be incomplete without the new academy.

Congressman John Yarmuth said this program is a focal point for futuristic thinking in the state of Kentucky.

The program will be fully funded by IBM and there is no public money being used to support it. Bendapudi wants people to see this as IBM investing in U of L and the state of Kentucky for a better future.

The IBM Skills Academy helps put Kentucky at the center of excellence said Terry Gill, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “[We] have to have workers there to fill these positions,” Gill said.

All eight areas of the Skills Academy will not be offered in the fall, but they will be phased in over a period of time.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal