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A New Day For the Next Generation of Tech Leaders in Canada

NPower_Canada_StephanieCuskleyCEO_thumbThis post written by guest blogger Stephanie Cuskley, CEO of NPower

Today marks the first day of NPower Canada’s Technology Service Corps (TSC) class in Toronto, Canada, a program that will provide underserved youth with proven, no-cost training for skilled, in-demand information technology (IT) jobs.

As the CEO of NPower, Inc., the U.S.-based nonprofit that developed the TSC program, I am extremely proud to announce this expansion and I want to thank Cisco for being a part of the group of partners that made it possible.

NPower was founded in the United States in 2000, and since then has provided individuals, nonprofits, and schools access and opportunity to build tech skills and achieve their potential. The TSC program is one of NPower’s signature programs and to date has served over 1200 young adults and veterans, with more than 80% of alumni being employed or pursuing higher education within 1 year of graduation.

A TSC class in New York City

Daniel White, Tishaya Ervin, Dina Razafy and Alexander Mendez, Technology Service Corps New York, Class 31 in Harlem

When someone from Cisco Canada called my office one morning and alerted me to the fact that youth unemployment in Toronto stands among the highest in the country, with nearly a quarter of jobless youth reporting that their biggest barrier to employment is a lack of marketable skills, I knew there was no question we had to expand north of the border.

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Cisco IT Managers Break Record for Largest Group Volunteering Event

Yesterday, 500 Cisco employees assembled kits for two of our nonprofit partners, making the World Wide IT Manager’s Offsite (WWITMO) “Giving Back” event Cisco’s largest volunteer effort ever. Two-hundred volunteers assembled hands-on activity kits for Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) and 300 assembled hygiene and snack kits for HomeFirst at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California.

Cisco volunteers packed the room to help RAFT and HomeFirst assemble kits

Cisco volunteers packed the room to assemble kits for two Silicon Valley nonprofits, RAFT and HomeFirst

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Cisco Tops CDP Carbon Rankings

Over the last month, CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) has released its assessments of how publicly traded companies around the world scored on the CDP’s 2014 Climate Change Information Request. I think 2014 marks a dozen years that CDP has been moving the needle on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reporting.

On September 23, CDP released the results of its regional assessments.  In Cisco’s case, CDP reported our scoring as part of its U.S.-based S&P 500 report.  For the 2nd year in a row, we received the top score of 100. Another accomplishment that I think is especially meaningful is that we made CDP’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership index (CDLI) for the 7th year in a row. As companies have improved their reporting, disclosure scores have improved; the “room at the top” is a lot smaller (see CDP chart below).

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Judging the Future at Cisco’s Silicon Valley Innovation Jam

As a recent graduate of San Jose State University (SJSU), I’ve seen how technology can improve education. Wi-Fi access in every classroom is eliminating the PowerPoint lectures of old and replacing them with 21st-century lesson plans. Students are interacting with professors using social media, answering questions with a tweet or streaming videos during presentations to make learning more engaging. At Cisco’s Silicon Valley Innovation Jam on October 24, I served as a pre-finalist judge and saw how over 60 SJSU students would use this same technology to solve social problems in the near future.

By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. Today, I can name more than 10 “smart” devices in my house that require an Internet connection. As more people, processes, data, and things become connected, the “Internet of Everything” will require people to change the way they work, live, play and learn. Students at the Innovation Jam were tasked with creating a solution that harnesses these connections to improve society – whether education, healthcare, energy, retail, or city/public services.

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CSR Partner Water for People Quenching Thirst in Malawi

One of the nonprofits we support through our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, Water for People, is on track to providing easy access to safe water and sanitation to everyone in Malawi, Africa, where just 5 years ago, only 41% had access to a reliable water source.

Water for People supports the development of locally sustainable drinking water resources, sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs – with a focus on using technology to monitor projects and collect and analyze data. These programs are helping Water for People reach its mission of delivering water to “Everyone Forever” in 30 districts in 9 countries serving over 4 million individuals.

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In Malawi, Water for People has completed 90% of its target water projects. Photo courtesy Water For People.

Cisco began supporting Water for People in 2010, with a Global Impact Cash Grant to help develop Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW) — a mobile application that can be used to collect, manage, and analyze data on the condition of wells and pumps in remote locations. Water for People is using this tool in the Chikwawa district of Malawi to monitor 98 different water points, collecting usage data and pictures of the condition of the water systems.

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