GRAD Academy in Holyoke, MA Launches Cisco Academy


William J. Dean Technical High School has been busy this new year. Since reopening last fall, the newest member of the GRAD Academy network has been undergoing nonstop upgrades, renovations, and celebrations.

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The most recent of these improvements is the launching of Dean Tech’s Cisco Academy computer lab. Cisco Academy, a global education initiative that teaches students to be computer and tech savvy, came to Dean as part of an articulation agreement with Holyoke Community College (HCC) and the Massachusetts Green High-Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC). MGHPCC is a data center that supports the research of five research universities in Massachusetts: Boston University, Harvard University, MIT, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts. MGHPCC is located in Holyoke, and will provide students a wealth of resources – both technological and collegiate. The grant secured by MGHPCC and HCC not only funded Dean Tech’s new Cisco Academy; it will also provide up to $90,000 in scholarships for these students to continue their training at HCC after graduation.

“The Cisco courses truly showcase the exciting new things that are happening at Dean Tech,” says Principal Barry Bacom. “To have an industry-leading program like Cisco and a knowledgeable veteran teacher like Mr. Singh is an investment in the potential of these young men and women that will pay dividends for this community for many years to come. We are very thankful for the support of our community partners for helping make this possible.”

The Cisco Academy Lab will be offered to 11th and 12th grade students in high standing who received letters of recommendation from guidance counselors and administrators. This semester, 10 Dean Tech students from the Electrical and Programming labs and one Holyoke High School student will participate in Cisco Networking courses. Their coursework will not only count towards high school graduation credit requirements; Cisco Networking courses will also count towards certifications that articulate to HCC courses. Becoming “Cisco Certified” – that is, becoming a Cisco Certified Networking Associate – is highly respected in technology-related industries.

On Tuesday, January 28th, Dean Tech partners at the MGHPCC and HCC, along with Superintendent Dr. Sergio Paez, Mayor Alex Morse, and State Representative Aaron Vega celebrated the official Grand Opening of the Dean Tech Cisco Academy. The school community was also joined by Executive Director of the Regional Employment Board David Cruise, Holyoke’s Director of Planning and Economic Development Marcos Marrero, and GRAD USA’s CEO Daryl Ogden.

To read ABC 40’s local coverage of this story, click here.