There are certain things in life most would consider “once in a lifetime” occurrences. The feeling that you get when your dad releases his grip one last time – and you find yourself riding a bicycle on your own; or waking up in amazement as you discover money from the tooth fairy under your pillow after losing your first tooth.
On November 4, 2008 – people all over the world witnessed a once in a lifetime moment when Barack and Michelle Obama won the race to the White House – becoming America’s first African American President and First Lady. It was only in my wildest dreams that I would ever have the pleasure to meet them both.
As a parent, we all understand that the health of our child takes precedence over economic concerns, geographic distance, and just about any barrier you can name. Many parents know the stress of finding the right doctor to treat a child’s illness, and the difficulties involved in traveling to see that one specific doctor. For critically ill children, the long wait to see a pediatric specialist can be devastating.
About 1 million children in California have ongoing physical, behavioral, mental, or emotional conditions that can affect their ability to function and participate in activities important to their development and, in some cases, can shorten their lives. According to a recent report published by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, these children with special healthcare needs use more healthcare services than other children and account for more than 40 percent of all healthcare cost among children nationwide, despite making up only 16 percent of the U.S. child population. Though advances in medical care have extended and improved the lives of millions of children, more than four in five of children with special healthcare needs still fail to receive one or more basic aspects of quality healthcare, statewide and nationally.
This week I had the privilege of attending an event at the White House where the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco, unveiled a new program to give returning military service members a fast track to the training and certifications needed for high-demand IT jobs.
Through the IT Training and Certification Program, transitioning military personnel with prior IT experience are being given access to IT training, certification, and career-matching opportunities to help fast-track their job search. Once selected through the Joining Forces Initiative, service members are invited to register on the U.S. IT Pipeline, a cloud-based talent exchange platform designed by Futures, Inc., with support from Cisco. Service members can explore careers, take a quick assessment, and choose from a selection of IT certifications, such as Cisco CCNA, most aligned to their interests. After completing the coursework and passing the certification exam provided by select IT training and exam partners, the Pipeline will then match their military experience and qualifications to qualifying high-demand, civilian IT job postings.
One in five Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear, and statistics suggest almost two thirds of these Americans are in the workforce. Trouble with hearing on the phone in the workplace can be stressful, and most audiologists recommend hearing loss solutions to their patients.
Similar to captioning on a television, ClearCaptions has developed a secure Cisco-certified captioning technology that makes Cisco Unified IP Phones an incredibly powerful tool for people with hearing loss. With ClearCaptions for Cisco, employees simply press one button to hear and read their calls. Plus, it’s discreet: Only the employee knows when they are using captions.
Employers can make a profound improvement in employee productivity by providing reasonable accommodations that address this concern in the workplace. “My phone is central to my job,” says South Eastern Washington Service Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Board President Melissa Ruth.
“Whether I’m on a conference call or talking one-on-one with management, my hearing loss can put me at a disadvantage. I used to miss names, numbers and have to ask people to repeat themselves, but ClearCaptions for Cisco allows me to see what I’m hearing on my phone, making me much more confident in the workplace — it’s been a very important accommodation for me.”
To learn more about Ruth and her experience with ClearCaptions for Cisco and workplace accommodation, watch this video:
Interoperability Verification Testing (IVT) certification provides assurance for organizations that ClearCaptions for Cisco has been thoroughly tested and verified to work with Cisco equipment, which can reduce integration costs, accelerate deployments and minimize the risk of failure.
Cisco joined the challenge as we were already working to expand our existing electric vehicle charging capabilities in both our domestic and global locations. We agree with the principles of the program to increase consumer access to plug-in vehicle (PEV) charging opportunities and potentially double the all-electric daily commuting distance for a PEV driver. By providing workplace charging, Cisco enables employees to choose a PEV, for sustainability or operating cost reasons, by effectively extending their range and flexibility.