Networking skills have become vital to our industry. Pakedge Device & Software, a company that specializes in enterprise-level networking products, recently donated $200,000 in networking hardware to Orange Coast College in California to help the next generation of network technicians gain vital hands-on experience in this field.
From Pakedge Device & Software
Networking manufacturer collaborates with local college to give future technicians a head start in the Networking and Audio/Video industry
In 2010, 24-year-old Jason Gibson worked at U-Haul, managing 70 dealer locations in Orange County, California. He had a passion for technology: his nickname in high school was "the IT guy" and he constantly read tech magazines to bring himself up to speed on the latest technological advances.
That year, he took his first class in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) program at Orange Coast College (OCC), a community college based in Costa Mesa, California. This first class prepared Jason for an A+ certification so that he could prove competency as a computer technician. The course was so useful that soon Jason found himself back at the school working towards his CCNA certification.
Just a year after his very first class in the ICT program, Jason was hired to become an account executive at Pakedge Device and Software Inc., a California-based manufacturing company that specializes in enterprise-level networking products. Since then, he has risen to the role of regional account manager, overseeing all accounts in the entire U.S. and training new account executives to become regional managers themselves.
Jason credits his current position, in part, from his participation in the program. In fact, he still takes the occasional ICT course at Orange Coast College to keep his technical knowledge as up-to-date as possible.
Grateful for all the opportunities he has been given, Jason decided to give back to the school. After a discussion with upper-level executives from his company, Jason was able to arrange a major donation: Pakedge donated over $200,000 in networking hardware to the ICT Program as an effort to help students gain hands-on experience with the latest high performance systems. Students can then apply that knowledge in their future careers.
The donation included 10 routers, 24 network switches, 12 power controllers, 181 access points, and an access point controller. Nick Phillips, the Vice President of Sales at Pakedge, had this to say about the donation: "When Jason came to us with the idea, we were very supportive. In the A/V industry, IP networking technologies play an important role--more and more products are becoming Internet-enabled while services like Netflix are now deliverable through streaming. Today, there is a real shortage of trained network technicians who can design, manage and maintain these systems. We're always putting together training webinars and training classes for our dealers, but having the opportunity to educate and train a whole new pool of students who can enter this industry is a big deal. By supporting the ICT program at OCC, we can give more people like Jason a head start and open doors to fulfilling careers in a very dynamic industry."
The technology donated by Pakedge will provide Orange Coast College students with the unique opportunity to install, configure, and manage wireless controllers and access points in real-world environments. The ICT Program coordinator, Professor William Saichek, calls the donation "a wonderful opportunity that few colleges have."
As for Jason, he plans to continue taking ICT courses in the future. "Sometimes I even take the same class more than once," he says. "It's a nice refresher because technology changes so quickly that you have to stay on top of what's current. That way, I can assist my clients with exactly what they need and understand the current technology they're using."
• Visit the Pakedge Device & Software website to learn more about the company's offerings.