jeffjoe, this is a small world. I was actually a consultant as a mainframe programmer until a couple of years ago, I was the youngest one in my shop, at 31 years old. 2 years ago, I switched over to newer technologies like Java and C#, and got my certs to back it up.
I personally think mainframe programming will always exist. The newer technologies are just not as strong, reliable, or as powerful as a mainframe in regards to sheer crunching power. And nothing is more realible than a system that's bveen around for over 40 years. However, I think it will soon be reduced to maintance role as the newer technologies like MQ series start to transport the information over to the front end technologies. Thus reducing the need for mainframe experts expect for a production support role.
I think your best bet is to stick to huge established companies and also government entities at a federal, state, and local level. They are the most likely to have huge mainframe related shops and it's just too expensive to get rid of them.
They are also the least likely to move their jobs overseas because the government and big companies, like airlines or banking, etc. have too sensitve information to move to foreign companies.
Tell me about the IT industry. I'm a mainframe programmer who's hanging on by his fingernails. I've been looking for a job near school (instead of 100 miles away) for some time now, but things are just not good for programmers in general.
Sounds like you have the best situation for now at least.
Currently, it's just not really a good idea. I live 5 minutes from my work and to move would put me closer to school but create a bigger hassle for work. I can't leave my work because the IT industry is unstable but if i lose my job or find out for sure i want to pursue law, i will move.