UofL, IBM announce creation of IBM Skills Academy

Facility, programs to transform research, teaching and innovation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville and IBM announced Wednesday that Louisville is establishing an IBM Skills Academy on campus that will help move the university, the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky to the forefront of data science and digital learning.

The academy will open this fall in the Miller Information Technology Center on UofL’s Belknap Campus. It will provide future-focused curriculum and educational tools with a focus on helping train today’s and tomorrow’s workforce in fast-growing technology areas such as AI, blockchain, cybersecurity and cloud computing.

The academy will be housed in the newly created Center for Digital Transformation.

IBM’s new artificial intelligence tools and related education initiatives are drawn from methods and technologies IBM has developed in-house to drive its own workforce transformation. The IBM Skills Academy transforms how cultures and people will operate with digital technology, including ethics and human bias in coding.

“This is a game changer for UofL and for the commonwealth,” said university President Neeli Bendapudi. “The new skills academy will close the digital divide that has existed between Kentucky and high-tech areas such as the northeast corridor and the west coast.”

Through the IBM Academic Initiative, IBM will make available software and cloud technology with an estimated value up to $5 million to UofL students and faculty for teaching and non-commercial research purposes.

IBM will also provide training for select UofL faculty in eight areas: artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, cybersecurity, cloud technology, data science, internet of things, design thinking and quantum computing.

Once trained, UofL faculty will teach colleagues and students and serve as workforce development agents for the community. They will help people earn IBM digital credentials or college credit that will better qualify them for high-tech careers.

Through the collaboration, UofL faculty also will participate in curricular innovation, including integrating digital learning into their college courses, as well as in K-12 classes.

“Skills are the most important issue of our time. The true potential in digital and AI systems is in their ability to work in partnership with humans,” said Naguib Attia, VP, Global University Programs, IBM. “The University of Louisville is empowering students and faculty to flourish in the era of AI and automation by preparing them with the necessary skills to make the partnership between people and AI as beneficial as possible.”

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