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An Enduring Commitment to Strengthening Cisco’s Communities

It started one day with a quiet knock on a classroom door where I was volunteering. A student at Joseph George middle-school in East San Jose asked if she could continue building her solar car at lunch time. Soon, she was joined by a one friend, then another. Pretty soon, they would come three or four at a time during snack, lunch, and after school to perfect their vehicles and get them ready for the street.

The students thought they were having fun; but in reality, they were learning the fundamentals of engineering – friction, gear ratios, motors, solar energy and wind resistance. These students, several of whom faced significant struggles early on in their solar car classes, had found a place they could succeed. They approached their solar cars work with a newfound dedication and focus that blew their teachers and parents away.

This opportunity was facilitated by Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization that works with working professionals to teach volunteer apprenticeships to middle school students in low-income communities. Citizen Schools is one of 92 nonprofit / nongovernmental organizations around the globe that received funding this year through the Cisco Foundation’s signature community granting program, called Community Impact Cash Grants, or CICG for short. One of the core values at Cisco is building strong relationships with partners in the communities in which we operate, and the CICG program is at the heart of those efforts.

Cisco support helps Citizen Schools encourage students to stay in school

Cisco Foundation grant support helps Citizen Schools expand the learning day for underserved middle school students by offering apprenticeships that get them excited about learning and encourage them to stay in school.

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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.

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

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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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