George Brown College and Cisco Canada: a partnership full of possibilities

Close collaboration with industry partners is a priority at George Brown College. It keeps our curriculum relevant, provides our students with exciting applied research opportunities and access to state-of-the-art technologies, and helps us develop graduates ready to hit the ground running in the workforce. Our partnership with global networking giant Cisco is a great example of the benefits, opportunities and possibilities that are created through strong collaboration.

George Brown and Cisco first started working together in 2003 when our School of Computer Technology became a Cisco Networking Academy, delivering curriculum that provides students with digital problem-solving (cybersecurity, Internet of Things, networking, programming) and entrepreneurial skills. Our partnership continues to expand, providing students with skills that will benefit them in the age of digital disruption.

Cisco Networking Academy

The Cisco Networking Academy is a global program launched in 1997. George Brown is the largest academy in Ontario, simultaneously serving as an instructor training centre. It is also the largest area support centre in Canada, serving nearly 50 Cisco Networking Academies in Ontario.

“Cisco Canada looks to educational institutions like George Brown College to lead and help us on the next generation of digital transformation,” says Rola Dagher, President, Cisco Systems Canada.

George Brown recently became the only premier plus partner in Canada with Cisco thanks to growth in our program. This new status provides discounts for select graduating students to write Cisco certification exams.

We also hosted the annual Cisco Networking Academy Partners Summit June 18-20, 2019.

Job shadow program 

Students at our School of Computer Technology garner valuable insight into the working world thanks to our job shadow program. Students are paired with a Cisco professional for a day and learn about the work environment and culture at Cisco, and the role each employee plays in making Cisco one of the top networking companies. In 2018, one of our students from the Computer Systems Technology program, Danielle Palermo, had an informative and fulfilling experience shadowing a Cisco Systems Engineer Samantha Yiu.

“It was interesting to see the mix of business, sales and the skills you need in order to do this job,” Palermo said. Palermo attended a customer meeting, a customer lunch and attended an off-site Cisco partner meeting. She also met Yiu’s colleagues in the office. “The main benefit for students is they get exposed to real-life opportunities,” Yiu said. “I offered if she wants to continue the relationship going forward, to feel free reaching out to me.”

Applied Research 

Cisco has been a partner in providing research opportunities in our Electromechanical Engineering—Building Automation program at the School of Mechanical Engineering.  

“It was Cisco that helped us put the Building Automation program on the map,” says Professor Leo Salemi. 

This partnership includes providing capstone research project opportunities. Our students worked with Cisco on a research project in 2014 to build an attachment to Cisco’s IP phone for a suite of room sensors that can be operated on the phone’s digital interface.

Cisco also works with George Brown on smart building automation projects related to Internet of Everything (IoE) projects, impacting various levels of intelligent building automation, including the management, automation, field and networking levels.  

Our new School of Design 

Our exciting new facility at Daniels City of the Arts opened to students in May 2019. The new School of Design features state-of-the-art technology, some of it provided by Cisco Canada.