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Cisco and OK CareerTech Change Lives With Skills Training

Cisco Systems and the Oklahoma CareerTech System are celebrating 10 years of working together to prepare more than 6,000 individuals in the state to work in the information technology networking field. The partnership was celebrated Jan. 13 at the State Capitol, in which six outstanding students were recognized.

Lt. Governor Jari Askins presented a proclamation at the celebration for “Cisco Networking Academy Day” which highlighted the progress Cisco has made in educating students to improve their skills, broadening their career and economic opportunities.Cisco 02 JPG

“I’m delighted that the state of Oklahoma is one of many partners with Cisco,” Askins said, “It’s a great example of a public-private partnership. We’re so fortunate that Oklahoma’s career and technology system and the state department of education have recognized the importance of this partnership to ensure those opportunities are available for students.”

Among those recognized were Otis Surratt Jr. and Daniel Billingsly, Tulsa Technology Center; Geraldine “Buzzy” Manning, Indian Capital Technology Center in Tahlequah; Kevin Bell, Pioneer Technology Center in Ponca City; Chad Johnson, Mid-Del Technology Center in Midwest City; and Jesse Jorgensen, Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City.

Jeannie Kozak received the John Morgridge Scholarship presented by Larry Payne, area vice president of state and local government and education with Cisco Systems. Kozak attended Kiamichi Technology Center in McAlester.

The John Morgridge Scholarship is a prestigious award that honors the efforts and long-term commitment to basic human needs, responsible citizenship and access to education shown by John Morgridge, former Cisco president and CEO. Morgridge currently serves as chairman emeritus.

Surratt is currently pursuing a bachelor of science degree in information systems at the University of Tulsa. An entrepreneur, he is president and chief engineer of OCOSA Communications and hopes to build a growing reputable telecommunications company that will give back to the community.

Billingsly received his associate degree in telecommunication management. His goal is to learn every day and better himself at work and in his personal life.

“After leaving the academy I was confident in my abilities and I believe that helped me as far as selling myself to potential employers,” said Billingsly.

Manning is currently enrolled at Oklahoma State University working toward her degree in Career Tech Education. She is a certified academy instructor and taught in the program five years ago. Manning is currently working at Williams Communications as a Network Technician II working with FOX Sports. Manning’s two children and son-in-law have also completed the program.

Kevin Bell received his associate degree of applied science information technology-network engineering at Northern Oklahoma College. After working 20 months as an intern at Pioneer Technology Center in Ponca City, he is currently working as assistant network administrator. Bell plans to continue his education and receive a master’s degree in MIS. One of his ultimate goals is to program an application to help consumers track the activity in real time on their computers

Johnson has earned his associate degree of applied science in networking/cyber security, a bachelor’s degree of technology in information assurance and forensics, and a master’s degree in computer science. Johnson completed an internship in summer 2008 with the Department of Defense and plans to work in the field of information security.

Jorgensen is certified as a Cisco information security specialist, a Cisco advanced security field specialist and a Cisco foundation express field specialist. He is currently working as a field engineer at Chickasaw Telecom, Inc.

Cisco is the worldwide leader in information technology networking. Now in its second decade, Cisco Networking Academy teaches millions of students worldwide skills to compete in the 21st century global economy. Employing more than 67,647 employees, Cisco enables people to make powerful connections in business, education and philanthropy.

“To keep students engaged, Cisco has looked at the way young people learn. As a result Cisco has developed its E-learning software and hands-on activities,” said Linnie Berkenbile, state program administrator of business, marketing and IT education at Oklahoma CareerTech, “Our students have benefited greatly from efforts by Cisco to educate students in the networking area.”

“The state has 33 Cisco Networking Academies, creating opportunities and preparing more than 1,900 students per year to innovate and lead economic development in Oklahoma.” said Rosanna Bisges, senior manager of Cisco Systems. “Thirty-two academies are offered in CareerTech high school and technology center programs and one is at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee.”

Written by: Katie Gruntmeir

Publish Date: January 16, 2009

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