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Cisco Networking Academy Students Take Home Top Prizes at WorldSkills Competition

Another amazing World Skills week has come to an end. Congratulations to all participants across the various skills areas, you are all winners!

Some highlights from the week of our Skill 39 competitors, who after months of training finally had the chance to put their hard work to the test during the 4-day competition.


More than 1,100 competitors attended WorldSkills from more than 60 countries and regions in the Americas, Europe, Asia, South Pacific and Africa.


Cisco mentors advised teams during the Digital Challenge at WorldSkills and helped students apply technology to the world’s social problems.

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Digital Challenge Helps Young People Solve Social Challenges in Brazil

What better place to incorporate a Hackathon than at World Skills, an event already bursting with energy and excitement? This year, the organization introduced a Digital Challenge with the goal to help local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with real-world problems, and show that IT-related competitions can be fun and engaging.

As part of the Digital Challenge at World Skills, students will put their technical knowledge to the test while working with local organizations to solve social problems with technology.

Fifteen local Brazilian problem solvers will join 5 past WorldSkills champions to help 5 Brazilian NGOs move social projects forward. The 4-day challenge takes place parallel to the WorldSkills competition and will leave behind a legacy.

The 5 challenges the teams will address are:

  • Opportunities for youth
  • Multiple disabilities game and play
  • Blood donation awareness
  • Recycling and social development
  • Cancer patient support

Learn more about the teams and the challenges.

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Cisco Volunteers, CyberPatriot Inspire Students to Pursue Cybersecurity Careers

Last week, 60 middle and high school students gathered at Cisco campuses in Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC and Richardson, TX for a special cybersecurity camp being offered for the first time by CyberPatriot, the Air Force Association’s national youth cyber education program.

Cisco volunteers worked hands-on with students at last week's CyberPatriot summer camp, inspiring the young men and women to pursue careers in the cybersecurity field.

Cisco volunteers worked hands-on with students at last week’s CyberPatriot summer camp, inspiring the young men and women to pursue careers in the cybersecurity field.

The camp gave students who had little to no cybersecurity experience an opportunity to learn more about cybersecurity and how to safely use the Internet. The students completed the 20-hour curriculum over four days, and on the fifth day, took part in a mock competition similar to the one held at the CyberPatriot National Finals each year in Washington, D.C. It is our hope that this experience will inspire these students to join the CyberPatriot program and ultimately pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and careers. A total of 24 CyberPatriot Camps were offered across the country.

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Young People Show Off Their IT Skills at Global Competition

It’s hard to believe 2 years have already passed since I first experienced WorldSkills in Leipzig, Germany. The intensity and energy of the week were unforgettable, so I’m excited to be back this year, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to experience it again.

I always feel inspired meeting young people who take their skills to the next level. WorldSkills is one of the best events to do just that – this vigorous 4-day competition tests young people’s vocational skills, ranging from hairdressing to carpentry to robotics to IT network systems administration. More than 1000 competitors travel from 50+ countries around the world with the hopes to take home a medal at the end of the week.

Cisco is a strong supporter of World Skills and the opportunity it provides for young people to showcase their talent. Specifically we sponsor Skill #39, IT Network Systems Administration. This year we will meet top talent from 36 countries who will compete in Skill #39 – the largest number in this skill ever. And, approximately 90% of them are enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy courses.

Jean-Philippe Desbiens represented Canada in Skill #39 at WorldSkills 2013. He was later hired  by Cisco in Montreal.

Jean-Philippe Desbiens represented Canada in Skill #39 at WorldSkills 2013. He was later hired by Cisco in Montreal.

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Engineering a STEM mentoring moonshot

The following post was originally published in The Hill

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy laid out an ambitious goal for our nation – to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In doing so, he inspired a new generation and helped ensure U.S. global leadership in technology for years to come.

Today, we have an earthbound, but no less important, challenge. We face a massive skills gap — by 2018, our nation will have 1.8 million unfilled jobs requiring technical skills. Our nation’s business community is uniting to address the challenge.

We need to make sure that students of all backgrounds have the skills and opportunities to pursue a career in STEM– Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This requires a national strategy, a chief component of which is STEM mentoring by STEM professionals.

Why mentoring? Because students won’t do what they can’t see. It’s one thing to teach math and science in the classroom. It’s another thing to build, explore, and engage the incredible world of science and technology that is transforming our society in real-time. Hands-on learning is the way to get a diverse group of students excited about STEM.

STEM mentors at Cisco

Participants with Techbridge Girls visit Cisco’s San Jose, California headquarters during a STEM mentoring event in February, 2015.

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