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How Cisco is Increasing Professional Opportunities for Women in the Middle East

August 21, 2013 at 10:09 am PST

Today on Triple Pundit, Leon Kaye writes about the challenges Saudi Arabian women face in finding meaningful employment, and how the Cisco Networking Academy program is helping to create more opportunities for them. Of the nearly 17,000 Networking Academy students in Saudi Arabia, 42 percent are women.

Kaye writes:

“More women in Saudi Arabia are able to complete higher education, but they still have a difficult time finding gainful employment. Depending on the source cited, as much as 34 percent of Saudi women are unemployed, five times the unemployment of men in this nation of 28 million.

Cisco is one company working to increase professional opportunities for women under the constraints Saudi society imposes on anyone living and working in the country. Throughout the Middle East, Cisco has worked with universities, technical colleges and education ministries to embed technical training within these schools’ curricula. The results could add up to a more technically-savvy workforce, better jobs for women and more long-term business opportunities for the Silicon Valley-based networking equipment giant.”

More than 85 percent of the female graduates from the Cisco Networking Academy program at Effat University in Saudi Arabia have either found jobs or decided to pursue advanced degrees.

More than 85 percent of the female graduates from the Cisco Networking Academy program at Effat University in Saudi Arabia have either found jobs or decided to pursue advanced degrees.

Please read the full article on TriplePundit.com.

 

 

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Three Cisco Employee Volunteers Recognized as “Citizen Teachers of the Year” by Citizen Schools

August 16, 2013 at 7:30 am PST

Three Cisco employees were recently named “Cisco Citizen Teachers of the Year” by Citizen Schools, one of Cisco’s longtime nonprofit education partners.

More than 125 volunteers from Cisco have stepped out of their jobs as engineers, sales executives, and technology professionals to become mentors and “Citizen Teachers,” leading groups of students in 10-week “apprenticeship” classes. Thanks to their commitment to the program, over 700 students have had access to caring mentors and developed an interest in pursuing future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

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Cisco and MIND Research Institute Are Reimagining Math Education

August 15, 2013 at 10:47 am PST

This post is derived from the 2012 MIND Research Institute Annual Report.

When Tylicia transferred to third-grade at Occohannock Elementary in Virginia’s Northampton County, her teachers described her as polite but extremely quiet in class. She was failing math, but wouldn’t ask questions when she needed help.

Two months into the school year, Tylicia had what her teacher describes as a breakthrough moment. She had created her own place value chart on a white board to work through a series of ST Math problems on the computer. “It wasn’t a strategy any one had given to her, and she was able to explain to me how she was using this tool she’d created,” says third-grade math teacher Jenna Bassette. “She was problem solving independently.”

Tylicia is one of 6,000 Virginia students who began piloting MIND Research Institute’s Spatial Temporal (ST) Math program in 2012 with a grant from the Cisco Foundation. ST Math is a web-based, self-paced software program that uses language-free animation to help students grasp key concepts.

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Cisco’s Palestine Investment Commitment Featured in Forbes Magazine

August 13, 2013 at 7:30 am PST

The August 12 issue of Forbes magazine features Cisco’s investment to fuel job creation and economic development in the Palestinian information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

Cisco CEO John Chambers on the cover of Forbes

After visiting Ramallah in 2008, Cisco CEO John Chambers pledged to help develop the ICT sector in the Palestinian Territories.

“We do this because we want to change the world. And we don’t do it on a small scale. It’s nice to help a village, but the key is how do you help a country?” Cisco CEO John Chambers says in Forbes.

In 2008, Cisco began outsourcing projects from its Israeli office to three companies in the Palestine Territories. Those firms have since reported a 65 percent increase in their workforces.

Forbes contributor Richard Behar writes, “Cisco’s efforts created a ripple effect, bringing in other American tech giants, which also use their Israel offices to work across the border. And as U.S. companies got Palestinian companies comfortable with working with entities based in Israel, large Israeli tech companies have been able to establish relationships, too. … HP now outsources some of its research and development to the West Bank. Microsoft Israel has started putting Palestinian engineers in Ramallah on its payroll.”

Indeed, according to a June 2012 report on the Palestinian Investment Commitment by Mission Measurement, Palestinian ICT firms reported a 64 percent increase in international client work from 2009 to 2012.

Cisco ultimately contributed US$15 million to the initiative, including millions of dollars in incubation, venture capital, and equity funding for ICT companies, and a capacity building program for entrepreneurs.

Read the complete Forbes article featuring Cisco’s Palestine Investment Commitment.

In a separate piece, Behar describes Cisco’s Tamkeen.net capacity building program for Palestinian entrepreneurs, which provides training and mentoring for CEOs and managers. Behar attended two of the training sessions “in rooms filled with Palestinian CEOs and mid-level managers being coached by Israeli Jewish tech experts.” Seventy Palestinians from 24 different companies have participated in 100 days of trainings since 2011.

Read about the Tamkeen.net capacity building program in Forbes.

The video below features Tareq Maayah, founder of Ramallah-based Exalt Technologies, one of the three companies that undertook outsourcing work from Cisco.

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Internet-Powered Jobs Transform Impoverished Youth into Lifelong Workers

This blog was originally published on the Huffington Post

I recently spent two weeks in Uganda and Kenya, meeting with nonprofit organizations that are applying technology-based solutions to help underserved populations access the knowledge, skills, and financial products and services they need to become economically self-sufficient. I lead the economic empowerment portfolio for Cisco and the Cisco Foundation, so it was an opportunity to get an up-close view of the progress and impact of our investments.

Let’s put this into perspective: When we talk about underserved populations in developing countries, we are talking about people who are living on less than $3 a day. They may have never had a formal job and most likely have, at most, a high school education. They don’t have a bank account, they may live in a slum, and they may not have enough money to eat three meals a day.

To permanently break the cycle of poverty, these people need a life-changing experience. One that will help them develop skills they need to get jobs, earn good salaries, and be supporters and role models for their families and communities.

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