Posted by Heidi Schwartz
IBM, the University of South Carolina (USC) and Fluor Corporation have announced the formation of the Center for Applied Innovation. The Center will provide application services to both public and private sector organizations across North America with specialties in the areas of analytics and higher education industry solutions. As part of the initiative, the organizations will collaborate on tailored IT curricula and advanced analytic techniques for personalized learning.
“The Center for Applied Innovation is the realization of the University of South Carolina’s vision to advance higher education through strong, public-private partnerships,” USC President Harris Pastides said. “Through this collaboration with IBM and Fluor, USC students will have unique opportunities to learn both in and outside the classroom and further hone their IT skills. By using advanced technologies and data analytics, the collaboration will help students, educators and others in higher education make intelligent decisions that improve the student experience and enhance student achievement.”
The collaboration is part of an ongoing effort to expand student skills and understanding of applied computing to meet the growing demand for highly skilled IT professionals and business leaders. IBM and USC will develop internship opportunities that better link the classroom with career pathways as well as curricula to build analytics skills that support businesses both locally and across North America. IBM will work with the Darla Moore School of Business as well as USC’s College of Engineering and Computing to team with companies in the region on analytics solutions to their most pressing business challenges.
“IBM and Fluor are two great South Carolina companies and it is extremely exciting to see them partner with USC to provide our students with the tools and training they need to enter the workforce successfully,” said SC Gov. Nikki Haley. “Making sure our students are prepared for the thousands of highly skilled jobs coming to our state is one of the most important issues we are facing and why efforts like the Center for Applied Innovation are critical to the future of South Carolina.”
As a partner in the Center for Applied Innovation, Fluor Corporation—a provider of services in engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and project management—will serve as a strategic advisor, offering insight into emerging trends and requirements that will drive efforts delivered from the center. Fluor also has a major operations center in nearby Greenville, SC.
“Fluor is thrilled to be a partner in the Center for Applied Innovation as we build on our existing relationship with IBM and USC to create new opportunities for the region,” said David Seaton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fluor Corporation. “We look forward to contributing to the center’s growth as well as accessing the skills, tools, and processes needed to continue adoption of advanced IT solutions by Fluor, our partners and clients.”
USC also will be the first higher education institution to apply technology from IBM Research—piloted by Gwinnett County Schools in Georgia—to create a truly personalized learning experience for students and educators alike. The collaboration will seek ways to apply Big Data and analytics to help education institutions align intelligent content, student assessments and learner data. Together, IBM and USC will build the technology foundation and data needed for personalized learning that improves outcomes for students and talent management for the university. As the partnership develops, USC will become an international center of competency for universities and ministries of education using similar solutions around the globe.
“USC’s strength in innovation, research and IT complements IBM’s history of collaborative research to transform public and private institutions,” said Cameron Art, General Manager of Application Management Services, IBM Global Business Services. “IBM and USC will team to foster innovation on campus and off to help promote our strategic agenda to develop deep centers of competency around industry solutions.”
The Center for Applied Innovation will initially be located in existing facilities on USC’s campus and is expected to move to a new office building in the Innovista Research District anticipated to open in 2016. By delivering application services to clients across North America, the Center is expected to create internships and permanent direct and indirect jobs for USC graduates and other local IT professionals. The Center will adopt common methodology and tools in use across IBM, better enabling the USC Center to provide the same operational benefits and efficiencies to its clients and enable collaboration with IBM delivery centers.
“Higher education is the key to developing a 21st century workforce in South Carolina, and this partnership demonstrates that the students, graduates and faculty at USC are attractive to the largest and most successful corporations in the world,” said Hugh Leatherman, President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina Senate and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “Creative partnerships like this represent a new way of doing business while seeking increased opportunity for students and will ultimately enable our state to attract and retain the best talent in the country.”