Enquirer Herald

York Tech teams up with York County, Lancaster schools

A grant has allowed York Technical College to expand its partnerships with local high schools to teach about computer networks.

Representatives from Rock Hill, Fort Mill, York, Clover and Lancaster schools signed an agreement Tuesday with York Tech that will allow new Cisco Networking Academies - which help students learn to design, install, secure and manage computer networks at area schools and expand existing labs.

New academies are being added to Nation Ford and Clover high schools. Clover is reinstating a program that had ended with the loss of a teacher, said Edie Dille, associate dean for Business and Information Technology at York Tech. A program at Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster County also was recently added.

The Rock Hill Applied Technology Center and Floyd D. Johnson Applied Technology Center in York have had programs since 2000, Dille said.

These new and expanded programs are being funded through a $150,000 grant from AdvanceSC, established by Duke Energy in 2004 for public assistance and economic development.

This grant will buy Cisco equipment packages for the new academies in Clover and Fort Mill and update equipment at Floyd D. Johnson. It also will be used to fund dual credit enrollment for Rock Hill students at the York Tech academy and funding for professional development and dual credit for the Cisco Academy at Andrew Jackson High School, said York Technical College President Greg Rutherford.

The grant is funding equipment, professional development and even certification testing fees, he said.

The Cisco Academies at the high schools and at York Tech will help students prepare for certifications, Dille said. Through these centers, high school students can receive a lower certification without attending college or get a head start on the higher certification.

"It teaches them a marketable skill," Dille said. "It prepares them to work in just about any type of company that uses a network."

Dille said the grant responds to the demand for network specialists in the area. "There's a greater need for employees with network experience," she said.

Dille said the school often receives more requests for job and intern candidates than there are students.

In addition to the students, the benefactors of these expanded academies are employers, Rutherford said. Business and new development are attracted by the improved skilled workers in the local economy, he said.