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COMMON makes education voucher plan permanent

COMMON, the iSeries user group, will now allow attendees to use IBM education vouchers to pay for the conference, permanently implementing the pilot program started at the spring 2004 event.

According to COMMON president Beverly Russell, attendees at the iSeries user group meetings will be allowed to use IBM education vouchers to pay for the conference from now on.

The vouchers had been accepted at the spring 2004 meeting under a pilot program, and the organization recently reinstated the practice and made it permanent.

"IBM and COMMON piloted this program at the COMMON Spring 2004 Conference & Expo," Russell said. "It worked out well for COMMON, for the attendees and for IBM, and I am delighted that this arrangement is now permanent. It is terrific to see that IBM counts COMMON as a top education resource for their customers."

Big Blue has been providing education vouchers to customers who purchase a qualified IBM eServer iSeries Enterprise Edition for two years. Previously, vouchers were only used for the IBM IT Education Services classes and tech conferences.

The amount of vouchers a company receives depends on the model iSeries a customer purchases.

The COMMON conference only requires one voucher. If you needed to pay for the conference, that individual pass would cost around $1,500.

According to Russell, the program has helped attract people to the user group.

"COMMON received over 35 registrations in the program, which was piloted at the spring 2004 conference in San Antonio," Russell said. "The individuals and companies that took advantage of the program in 2004 were sometimes new members experiencing COMMON for the first time. Furthermore, after experiencing [the] education, it's highly likely these participants will return in the future, become more involved year round, and promote COMMON, its education and its benefits to their peers and colleagues."

The fall 2005 conference will be Sept. 18-22, 2005, in Orlando, Fla., and registration is now open.

IBM customers who wish to redeem an unused education voucher by attending a COMMON conference should contact Darla Erdmann at

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"A perennial concern for all computer users is keeping current with the ever-changing technology by receiving relevant training," Russell said. "We're excited that IBM has decided to offer these vouchers for COMMON conferences on an ongoing basis. It truly illustrates how IBM considers COMMON a strategic education partner."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, News Editor

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