Open Cloud Academy Departs Downtown San Antonio, Has New Name | Texas Public Radio

Open Cloud Academy Departs Downtown San Antonio, Has New Name

Jun 16, 2020

The Open Cloud Academy (OCA) is changing its name and leaving downtown San Antonio.  

Rackspace CEO Kevin Jones announced that the OCA would become the  “Rackspace Cloud Academy” and relocate to its parent company’s Windcrest headquarters.

Rackspace also underwent a rebranding as Rackspace Technology and Jones said the academy was an asset to the company’s future.

Kevin Jones is CEO of Rackspace Technology
Credit Rackspace Technology

“We are becoming more of a thought leader in the technology industry and I think our cloud academy is a fantastic way to do that,” he said. 

In seven years, the cloud academy has trained 900 graduates for jobs in technology, according to academy leaders. When the organization began, most of the graduates went to Rackspace. Over intervening years, the need at Rackspace diminished and graduates found employment elsewhere. 

When Rackspace was sold to Apollo Global Management in summer 2016, it wasn’t always clear what the future of OCA would be. The company made some large corporate purchases, but shifted staff, reducing its San Antonio workforce through at least three rounds of layoffs over three years. As Jones said, the company went through a "complete transformation."

Now with the CEO talking about them and giving them a near patronymic, it's future is far more certain. 

“I just think it helps to strongly position us for future growth, program development and really more impact to Rackspace,” said Marcus Benavidez, academy director about the changes.

Marcus Benavidez (right) stands with a graduate of their cyber security program and former director Deborah Carter
Credit Paul Flahive

It extends to new programming also. While system administration and cyber security have been the organization’s mainstays, it will now offer a new program called “cyber cloud.” 

OCA completed its lease at the Rand Building last month. It had been occupying the space since leaving the Weston center where it began its life.  

“It's going to provide us and our students more opportunity for interaction internally with rackers. They actually get to be on site with an industry leader, right with an IT industry leader,” said Benavidez

The space within the so-called Castle will be completed in coming weeks. 

The cloud academy has been operating remotely since mid March, and hasn’t been able to offer in-classroom training since. It plans on launching another cohort in late June and when it will be able to bring students into Rackspace is still to be determined.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org or on Twitter @paulflahive.