Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: January 28, 2010

For more information contact, Brenda J. Rayner, (901) 333-4247

New Cisco Training Lab Offers Real Job Simulation

Cisco certification is considered a shoo-in for one of the hottest careers going. According to the Cisco Networking Academy: Tennessee Profile, the Cisco Networking Academy provides information technology (IT) and networking skills mapped to high-skill, high-demand, and high-wage 21st century jobs across virtually every industry.

The new Cisco Training Lab at the recently built Southwest Tennessee Community College Maxine A. Smith Center (MASC) is equipped with state-of-the-art LAN switches, network routers, equipment mounting racks, equipment mounting rack patch panels, and cabling runs from desktop PCs to the equipment mounting rack patch panels. The new equipment is perfectly suited for the activities performed by Cisco students and conforms to the most recent specifications provided by the Cisco Networking Academy program. "The classroom facilities themselves are state-of-the-art and more closely resemble an actual production networking environment," said Regional Cisco Networking Academy Program Coordinator Dewey Sykes, associate professor of engineering technologies for Southwest. "Consequently, students become acclimated to an environment they are likely to encounter in the workplace."

Southwest, a Regional Cisco Networking Academy, has articulation agreements with the local high schools and technology center that allow their students to take portions of the Cisco curriculum, explained Sykes, and receive up to six college credit hours toward a degree in information technology, should they attend Southwest. As a regional Cisco academy, Southwest also provides training for instructors to qualify them to teach the curriculum and support laboratory construction. "It is vitally important that technology education, to the extent possible, keep pace with the technology used in the actual workplace. The new MASC lab facility helps Southwest make tremendous strides in that direction," said Sykes.

The MASC facility lab equipment racks are connected together and supplied with a patch panel that allows cables to be run from every computer in the room to the patch panel. Each student can sit at his or her computer and simultaneously perform lab activities.

From an aesthetic point of view, Sykes says the MASC lab looks very much like a live production networking facility. "If you were to visit an information networking facility, you would see a lot of similarities between how the equipment is arranged and mounted on equipment racks in that facility and how it is in our new MASC facility networking infrastructure," Sykes said. "When someone walks into this room, that person can immediately determine that it is a networking classroom or a networking environment. This networking lab provides a first-class ergonomic environment that is highly conducive to teaching and learning. Collectively, all of these enhancements provide the college with a facility we can be extremely proud of," added Sykes.

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Photo caption: During a tour of the recently built Maxine A. Smith Center Cisco Networking Academy Lab, Dewey Sykes shows the rack-mounted patch panels that make it possible for students sitting at their desktop PCs to connect to the networking equipment mounted on the equipment rack.

Photo caption: Dewey Sykes shows the floor mounted receptacles for the cables running beneath the floor that connect the desktop PCs to the networking equipment mounted on the equipment rack; a superior design that conforms to industry standards.