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Multiplying The Impact Of Partnerships

This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post

The Techonomy Detroit conference on Sept. 17 brings together leaders across the country to focus on the transformative role of technology in boosting industries and advancing our economy. Can technology make a difference in the lives and well-being of our neighbors? Can the rapid advancements of social tools allow for a richer collaboration to solve some of our most challenging social issues? Every day I witness innovative technologies being used to not only address social challenges but to build stronger communities — here in the U.S. and across the globe.

But technology alone is not the key.

When people in public and private sectors come together in collaborative partnerships with a common future vision, and combine this vision with innovative technologies, we see the resulting impacts multiply.

Preparing Today for Tomorrow’s Challenges

For a competitive and sustainable economy, the U.S. must have a skilled and well-trained workforce that can meet the evolving needs of industry, such as in education and health care. According to the International Telecommunications Union, 90 percent of all jobs by 2015 will require technical skills. Across industries, we see the growth of global intelligent networks creating a greater need for trained professionals to keep these networks running and secure. So our current shortage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) trained workers is a real risk to our country’s economic recovery and long-term growth. However, a workforce well-schooled in information and communications technology (ICT) and engineering could spur innovation while fueling productivity and economic growth. Investments in ICT will play a major role in generating stable, high-paying jobs and boosting the nation’s gross domestic product. In Partnership, We Can Have More Impact

Now the “world’s largest classroom,” Cisco Networking Academy is a successful public-private partnership that uses innovative technology to meet the growing global demand for workers with ICT skills. By partnering with both public and private organizations, the curriculum combines in-person instruction, hands-on activities, and online interactive tools delivered through Cisco NetSpace, a cloud-based online learning environment. We currently have 50 academic institutions in the program in Michigan offering courses on IT essentials and networking to help students prepare for entry-level career opportunities.

Cisco Networking Academy has trained more than 4 million students during its 15-year history — more than 23,000 students in Michigan alone. These students have gone on to successful careers in ICT, while others have harnessed the entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge they acquired in the program to start their own businesses and create new jobs.

Learning networking basics is only a gateway to career growth and exploration. Unleashing passion by sparking imaginations and fueling genuine interest in improving lives through technology could be the secret ingredient to grow our economy — in particular for our younger generations. We are witnessing this innovation and excitement for greater social impact with the exponential rise of technology use in health care.

According to a 2012 report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce, “health care will continue to grow fastest and provide some of the best paying jobs in the nation” during this decade. Health care is already the largest private employer by far in Michigan, creating more than 540,000 jobs in Detroit alone. This industry has the potential to win back Detroit’s title of “The City of Innovation” as people entering health care will require advanced skills, including IT training.

Appropriate investments in human capital through education and technological infrastructure will help Detroit realize its potential.

In recognition of this, Cisco is offering a specialized Health Information Networking course as our technologies benefit all health care stakeholders: patients, physicians, hospitals, payers, and related organizations. The technology-focused curriculum in Health Information Networking is primarily designed for our Networking Academy students who are looking for entry-level specialist skills in health care. Today in Michigan, there are five institutions offering the Health Information Networking course. This is a promising direction for the future of the U.S. health care industry and for Detroit.

How can we make a more tangible difference in Detroit, together? Inspiring and preparing the global workforce of the future today is critical. What is your vision and how will you partner? How can technology and Cisco help you to multiply your impact?

Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility

We believe that businesses have a responsibility to operate in ways that respect and ultimately benefit people, communities and the planet on which we live; we call this Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Our core CSR philosophy is that impact multiplies whenever human and technology networks combine to solve a problem.

This is why we approach CSR the same way we approach business — by applying our technology, employee expertise and partnerships. We are focused on four primary goals: improving the well-being of people and communities around the world, reducing our environmental impact and helping our customers do the same, conducting our business ethically, and creating a workplace where our employees thrive.

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