Southwest Tennessee Community College

September 20, 2005

For more information, contact: Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023

Southwest’s IT Program & Memphis City Schools Form New Cisco Team
Written by Brenda J. Rayner

Through Southwest Tennessee Community College’s partnership with Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in internetworking, creating the Cisco Networking Academy Program (a partnership between Cisco Systems, education, business, government, and community organizations around the world), students attending select Memphis City Schools (MSC) can now work toward earning Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification.

The academy will teach high school students from Trezevant, Kingsbury and East career technology centers and Middle College and Sheffield high schools how to design, build, and maintain computer networks, enabling them to develop the skills they need to compete in an increasingly technology-dependent workplace. Theses students can transfer up to six credit hours to Southwest.

Brenda Phillips, Information Technology Instructor for Southwest, said there are three available options for MCS’s students to prepare for certification at Southwest: 1) complete additional semesters (6 hours) required for certification exam, 2) complete requirements for one year training certificate, 3) earn an Associate Applied Science degree. Phillips stated that the highly coveted CCNA certification can position students to earn lucrative salaries in positions such as “network engineers, network administrators, and systems service technicians; starting salaries for the CNNA, alone, fall in the range of $27,000 to $37, 000.”

According to Dewey Sykes, Director of Cisco Networking Academy Program, Memphis City School has renewed and expanded its commitment from three schools in 2001, to the five schools mentioned above. Ten Memphis City Schools instructors attended the Cisco Networking Academy Program Instructor training workshop conducted by Southwest in April, 2005. “These instructors, trained and certified to teach the program at their respective schools, belong to an international community of educators that share technical expertise, teaching talent, and dedication to innovative e-learning models.” The training was offered at no cost through funding provided by Southwest Tennessee Tech Prep Consortium.

Felecia Lee, Director of Southwest Tennessee Tech Prep Consortium, said classes were scheduled to be taught this fall. She further stated, “With us developing the Cisco partnership, students are able to start the program in high school; this gives the students an opportunity to cut their college time short and also save money. Because they can start their first course work toward the actual certification in high school and complete the program at the College.”

Cisco Systems has designated Southwest as a Cisco Regional Networking Academy. There are 76 total Cisco Networking Academies in the state of Tennessee, five of which are Regional Cisco Networking Programs, Southwest is one of those five.

For more information contact Dewy Sykes at or (901) 333-4290 or Felecia Lee at or (901) 333-4335