Available Scholarships to COMMON’s Annual Meeting and Exposition

In just a couple of short months, COMMON’s Annual Meeting and Exposition will bring together authorities in the industry on IBM i for four days of education and networking. Each year in conjunction with COMMON, the COMMON Education Foundation (CEF) awards scholarships that recognize contributing members of the COMMON community, and those committed to the IBM i platform. This year, once again, the CEF will be offering the Al Barsa Award scholarship, open to all COMMON members. Al was fiercely dedicated to i. As such, he was an overall advocate for the community and mentor to others. This scholarship honors an individual who exemplifies Al’s commitment and support of IBM i. Award of the scholarship is based on candidate’s commitment and dedication to the i Community, volunteer record and history as an advocate for i. The recipient of this award receives a conference registration to the 2017 COMMON Annual Meeting and is presented with a plaque during the event’s Opening Session. Candidates may nominate themselves or may be nominated by another individual. If you know of someone deserving of the award or would like to nominate yourself, go to www.commoneducationfoundation.org to apply. Deadline for submission is Friday, April 07, 2017.

In addition, the CEF also awards the John Earl Memorial Scholarship by nomination only. Earl was a dedicated speaker and Subject Matter Expert for COMMON for over two decades. His dedication to knowledge sharing and mentoring helped make the community grow. He, along with the former IBM Partners in Education program planted the initial seed for what would become the COMMON Education Foundation. John was a tremendous influence in the community throughout his years and the memory of his dedication and accomplishments still live on today. With the help of HelpSystems, this scholarship has been established in John’s name to recognize a member of the COMMON community that exemplifies John’s dedication to the growth of the IBM i community. Scholarship is by nomination only and covers the Registration expenses for COMMON’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Both awards, in addition to those awards dedicated to the educators that teach IBM i in colleges, will be awarded at COMMON’s Annual Meeting and Exposition’s Opening Session in Orlando on May 7, 2017.

Early Exposure Makes All the Difference

This week, December 5th – 11th, marks the 8th annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). Originally launched in 2009 by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), CSEdWeek is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. From students in the classroom to their teachers and administrators, all the way to corporate professionals in any industry, CSEdWeek is designed to spark an interest and engage people both from within and outside of the computing community. In 2013, CSEdWeek launched the Hour of Code initiative. A success out of the gate, the Hour of Code introduces people to their first hour of computer science. Aimed specifically at students, the Hour of Code is now a global movement that reaches students in mchildren-593313_1920ore than 180 countries, but truthfully anyone can do it. Hour of Code tutorials include content featuring the latest trends. From using Javascript to code in Minecraft to using Scratch to form a glitch in the Amazing World of Gumball, tutorials, offered in 45 languages, are a perfect introduction to coding for any age, young or old.

Initiatives like the Hour of Code expose today’s youth to computer science at an early age, generating an initial interest that could turn into a lifelong career. And since technology drives everything from medicine to agriculture, it’s vital to attract and engage the next generation of professionals to keep the overall industry flourishing. For places like the COMMON Education Foundation (CEF), where fostering the development and growth of future IT professionals is their mission, general industry recognition programs like CSEdWeek are incredibly beneficial in attracting the demographic they’ll potentially serve in the future. This year, to mark CSEdWeek and the development of future IT professionals, the COMMON Education Foundation would like to ask for your help. We have year-round initiatives that provide financial assistance to both students and educators in the Information Technology field. Financial assistance comes in the form of tuition scholarships for students as well as financial assistance for both students and faculty members to attend COMMON Conferences. As millions this week will be exposed to computer science through the Hour of Code, we’d like to ask for your support in donating to one of the CEF’s many initiatives. You can help in one of two ways, you can donate through the COMMON Education Foundation’s site or you can participate by donating through Amazon Smile.  Your donation, no matter the size, can help provide a solid foundation for the future of computer science.


Investing in the Future of IBM i

Founded in 1998, the COMMON Education Foundation (CEF) was developed to foster the development and growth of IT professionals that will help manage and support the computing systems of the future. The CEF provides training to those preparing to enter the information technology field and to educators who provide the learning experience. And for COMMON and its members, engaging the next generation of IT professionals and showing them how Power Systems can run the businesses of tomorrow will ensure the sustainability and long-term growth of this flourishing community.

Since the CEF’s inception, one of its main education initiatives has been to bring instructors and students to COMMON conferences each year. Typically, the Annual Meeting, held in Spring, conflicts with students’ schedules, garnering lower attendance numbers. The Fall Conference, however, with students just starting school and readily eager to learn, is an ideal venue for learning, networking and exposure to all that Power Systems has to offer. There, both educators and students, can attend any number of over 100 educational sessions on a wide range of topics related to IBM i and Linux, including full tracks on Systems Management, RPG, Application Modernization and Open Source. Not only do they have access to the latest relevant content, it is presented by respected authorities in the industry, providing practical applications along with numerous networking opportunities with esteemed leaders in the field.

But bringing those students and educators to the Fall Conference comes at a cost. So each year, the COMMON Education Foundation sponsors a Student Initiative to bring students and educators to the Conference on scholarship. The CEF covers the cost of the registration, hotel (2 students per room) and a set travel stipend. With interest from approximately six schools already and more expected in the near future, the CEF is working determinedly towards getting the donations to sponsor at least 25 students and 5 instructors to attend. The estimated cost per student is $700. Generally, donations can be made by anyone, but are usually provided by speakers, Expo vendors, COMMON Board of Directors and members.

Student feedback post-conference has been overwhelmingly positive. With the gamut of comments reflecting the following statements, “The experience of going to the conference was invaluable” and “It was a tremendous experience for both technical skills and in industry communication”, this is great opportunity for students and instructors alike to enhance their knowledge and broaden their network. To learn more about the COMMON Education Foundation or to make a donation to sponsor a student, go to www.commoneducationfoundation.org.