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Computer Equipment Valued at $170,000 Donated to College

Students in the School of Business and Computer Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology will be able to gain valuable job skills available previously only to students at institutions with large mainframe computers.

Micro Focus an industry leader in development solutions for COBOL, a computer-programming language recently donated $170,000 worth of software licenses to Penn College for “Mainframe Express,” a program that allows students working on personal computers to access an interface that simulates ones used on mainframe computers.

Anthony L. Nieli, an assistant professor of computer science at Penn College, approached Micro Focus about the product, worked out the details of the grant with the company and will use the product in the College’s Business Transaction Systems course. Nieli also integrated the product into the Data Base Integration course for the Fall 2001 semester.

“Students who are signed onto a personal computer can now use this product, which provides an interface that, in almost every respect, looks and feels identical to mainframes,” he said.

Nieli added that a major component of Mainframe Express is the Customer Information Control System, an IBM product that provides business-transaction services.

“CICS runs transaction systems like ATM machines and networks, supermarket systems, retail-store systems and systems in virtually every industry today,” he said. “CICS is the most widely used business-transaction-processing system for large IBM-compatible mainframes. In addition, it also runs on many other platforms and operating systems.”

“Micro Focus understands that today’s information-systems students need an introduction to the advanced technology being used by their future employers,” said Dr. Paul Halpern, director of marketing for Micro Focus. “Micro Focus offers the Academic Grant Program to provide qualifying educational organizations with software and services that put state-of-the-art COBOL technology into the hands of students and teachers.”

Halpern added: “The AGP offering is evidence of the continuing commitment of Micro Focus to the teaching and learning of COBOL. This program is an ideal way for educational institutions to obtain software to train the much-needed COBOL programmer for industry positions.”

The impetus for the software donation came from the development of a new bachelor-degree major at Penn College: Business Administration-Management Information Systems Concentration.

For more information about the MIS major or others offered by the School of Business and Computer Technologies at Penn College, call (570) 327-4517 or visit the Penn College Web site.

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