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Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center Uses Cisco Unified Communications to Help Teachers and Staff Collaborate Across Workspaces


Unified Communications Brings Leading Technology to Students, Increases Mobility for all Employees

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center, named for the former Secretary of State, today announced that it has deployed Cisco Unified Communications to help staff become increasingly mobile so that they can collaborate from any workspace, and to help students gain exposure to technology to help them gain a competitive advantage as they graduate and move into the workforce.

Urban Ventures Leadership Center, a non-profit organization located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Cristo Rey High School, a Jesuit high school also located in Minneapolis, worked together to build the 160,000 square foot Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center, a state-of-the-art facility that houses the high school, a recreational facility, and multiple nonprofit youth organizations.

“When we built the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center, we wanted to include an advanced unified communications system that could be tailored for the needs of multiple organizations and would expose the students to the technology that their future employers use,” said Matt von Ende, information systems manager for the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center. “Cisco Unified Communications has the power to capture the growth that we expect and the flexibility we need to support various user groups occupying the Center. It’s also perfect for the mobility needs of our staff.”

Teachers, staff and program employees move around the facility and visit their corporate sponsors offsite. Using Cisco Unified Communications, they can be thoroughly mobile and can communicate from any workspace, whether it is their car, a classroom, a corporate sponsor’s office, or a home office.

Parallel Technologies, Inc., a Cisco® Premier Certified Partner with Advanced Unified Communications specialization, installed Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco Unity Unified Messaging in the Center and in two nearby locations housing Urban Ventures and The Urban Youth Hub. The Center and the two remote locations use voice and voicemail services over the network, and students are now able to gain experience with business-class voicemail by calling into the Cisco Unity Unified voice messaging system whenever they are absent from a class or internship. In the Center, each classroom is equipped with a Cisco Unified IP Phone, which teachers can use to make and receive calls from other staff and parents. In addition, the school principal can remain accessible during meetings in various locations by taking advantage of Cisco Unified Personal Communicator -- a single intuitive interface for voice and video calls, voicemail playback, document sharing, web conferences, directories, instant messaging, and presence information -- and the Center’s wireless network.

“By unifying all of these communications applications in a single network, the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center gets a robust, flexible, and easy-to-manage collaboration system that will grow with the students and faculty for years to come,” said Rick McConnell, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s unified communications business unit. “We’re honored that the Center chose Cisco Unified Communications for such an innovative project.”


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